24 February 2007

Eat the rich

Foodies and foodiness in general are anathema to me. I don't watch any of the food channels. My family, knowing my intense dislike for that Ray woman, draw cheerful pirate accessories on her perky little face on the cracker box. She's almost fetching with her eye patch and Captain Hook-esque goatee.

Perhaps my dislike of food as phenomenon hearkens back to watching that Jeff Gourmet guy making armadillo eggs when I was in the throes of violent morning sickness (and that would also be the reason I never finished reading Like Water for Chocolate. I was one of those people who lost weight during pregnancy).

More likely the reason is that I don't like people telling me what to eat and how to eat it. I don't like trends. I don't like bandwagons (but I love love love soapboxes). I despise celebrity restaurants because of the high likelihood of getting an appallingly bad meal even while the chef and wait staff are insisting your bad meal is the height of haute. Yes, I have gotten into arguments with the chef. I know of nowhere that mandates one's filet mignon should be as bloody as an ER case...or as cold inside as the resulting corpse.

Foodiness also rubs me the wrong way because I truly love food. I love to cook and I enjoy nothing more than a lovely meal in congenial company. I love the smell of a chicken slow roasting in the oven, and the textures and colors of sauteing onion and carrots and celery in olive oil. There is nothing more satisfying than beating the daylights out of bread dough and being rewarded with a yeasty, golden loaf. In equal measure, I treasure the hominess of posole simmering or tossing a beautiful salad. The delight of fresh and perfect dim sum.

So, I ask you: molecular gastronomy? I think not. I've been watching this one develop over the last year or so, and I have to say that I like the idea about as much as the concept of "garbage" food that was touted a few years ago (monkfish cheeks, anyone?). This morning in the Wall Street Journal, Raymond Sokolov was rhapsodizing about the delights of a bacon martini. Bacon. Martini. Why don't we just go for broke and have a BLT martini? Roll all your food groups into one sublimely alcoholic concoction?


Lest you worry that I am unadventurous where food is concerned, let me assure you that I've eaten my share of chocolate-habanero concoctions, peccary, rattlesnake, turtle, tongue, turkey fries, smelt, nopalitos, and things purchased from the backs of cars or sidewalk vendors (tamales in Highland Park, ice cream in Moscow, respectively. Before Chernobyl, let me hasten to add).

Thank you but I don't want "pillow of juniper air." I can go stand on the neighbor's juniper to accomplish the exact same thing--for free. Goat cheese snow. Mmmm. "Rabbit with aromatic utensils" (seriously!) and "a green purée that started out as Caesar salad." In my house, we call that "refrigerator slime."

A Really Good Vegetarian Margarita

4 oz. Cuervo Tradicional or 1800 tequila
2 oz. Grand Marnier
4 oz. lime juice

Pour over ice if you like 'em on the rocks, or blend with 4 cups of ice. Makes about 4 margarita glass-sized margaritas. For added piquancy or just to be different (but still vegetarian!), add 2 oz. of Cheri's Desert Harvest Prickly Pear Cactus Syrup before blending.