Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.
Ok. I’ll bite.
Tortelli di zucca. Pappa al pomodoro. Bread (sans salt.) Crostini con: cavolo nero + lardo; burristo + quail egg; pomodoro + aglio. Pork loin. Lamb shank. Capon. Chestnuts in ricotta, pasta, dessert, beer. Olio nuovo on anything and everything. More bread (still no salt.) Pecorino (fresco e stagionato.) Salumi. Acqua cotta.* Shall I continue? (All washed down with sangiovese as its meant to be: gulpable and never-ending.)
Dis-donc, Jean. What does that make me? Foodie? Hedonist? Gastronome? Glutton? Fat-ass? Which is the least obnoxious of these terms?
Gastronomic blasphemy be damned. I have some choice words for you, Mr. B-S:
What if I want to be more than just the sum of all my (squishy body) parts?
The purpose of this program is to give students an understanding of food in all its facets. Food is everywhere and all-encompassing and all-important, an idea which has been regularly drilled into our heads. (Ironically, by coming to this school you are almost definitely already drinking that kool-aid from the start.)
But what if food is too all-encompassing? What if it’s all I do/think about/talk about/rhyme and dance about? (Yes, we made a “sausage-making” and “lardo production” dance. Do you get the severity of the situation?)
But without food, what am I? Surely I must have other interests…?
Clothes are cool. Too bad mine don’t fit anymore.
I used to play sports. As a kid I played piano. I enjoy movies and long walks on the beach?
…So what are the kids talking about these days? What do “normal” people do?
Do I just need new friends? People who are more familiar with this concept of “moderation” that I keep hearing about?
Is lardo di Julia just an occupational hazard of this program? Or an indication of being good at life? If everything I’m putting into my body is so good, how can this be bad?**
My mind reeled with these questions while my stomach churned from the multiple multi-course meals on our latest stage in Tuscany. I didn’t want to post this. Nobody wants to hear about (fat) white people problems. But I felt the need to write something - however hyperbolic and whiny - if only to get it out of my system. Take a deep breath. Move on.
…to the next meal.
*Am I about to be haunted by ghosts of Tuscan peasants past? Isn’t it an oxymoron to have decadent meals based on the quintessential cucina povera? It means ‘cooked water,’ for fuck’s sake!
** Compliments are in order: Katie, Kathryn, Johan.