I like food.
You like food.
Lots of us like food. Some more that others.
Some, like my kids, have sort of an adversarial relationship with food. They’re always wary, always suspicious that the tortilla might be hiding a red pepper; that the sauce might have mushrooms in it. Other days, their relationship with their food is like some f-ed up soap opera relationship; one day they love chicken, the next day it’s garbage, the day after that it’s the best creation ever – after the iPad.
Some, it is safe to say, like food a little too much. They shop for only the finest cheese in can; the crustiest bread; the snootiest wine. They build shrines to food: boutique restaurants and TV networks.
So food is important to us for many reasons that, nutritional and otherwise. And there’s a lot of great stuff out there, even for common folk like me. Nice cuts of meat. Fresh veggies. Decadent deserts.
For all the great food out there, there are the other things in the fridge. The foodstuffs we don’t talk about. The ones we look at and think, “Who the hell would eat that?” The food we don’t quite understand how it crawled up on our plates and claimed a place on our food pyramid.
Take mushrooms, for example. For the record, I love mushrooms; on steak, in sauces, on pizza. Good stuff. Thing is, I don’t have a clue what good they are, nutritionally. My sense is they are good for you, but I don’t know why. Also, I feel a little guilty whenever I eat a mushroom and thereby leave yet another Smurf homeless.
Celery. It’s a lovely shade of green. It’s crunchy so you can pretend you’re snapping twigs or bones or whatever trips your trigger when you eat it. It warns the fifth Doctor by turning purple when certain gases he’s allergic to are present. (Ding. Obligatory Doctor Who reference.) But still, as a food (well, let’s not kid ourselves – as something food-like), it’s nothing but a place holder. It’s something you put on the plate for garnish, but that’s about it.
Speaking of garnish…
Parsley. Once in a while, a restaurant will put a parsley sprig on your entrée. You throw it off the plate and get on with eating the actually food. When I was a kid, Mom would roast potatoes in the oven and sprinkle parsley flakes over them. In college, I had a rabbit who loved the shit out a mound of parsley for breakfast. That’s the extent of my parsley knowledge. What is this stuff around for?
Water chestnuts. What are these? Veggie? Fruit? Garnish? None of the above? I have no idea. All I do know is they get in the way of my Chinese food. The only upside is playing table-top hockey with the egg rolls as sticks. I’ve been banned from four restaurants so far. But my goal percentage is really improving.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go find a grocery store that stocks only foods I developed a taste for as a ten-year-old.