Let’s assume for a moment that taste buds developed on human tongues, not for the purpose of expensive boutique food stores being able to charge fifteen dollars an ounce for Mapuche chili powder but, rather, to entice people to try a variety of foods. Thus, food tourism, Instagram, and literally thousands of new cookbooks being published, year after year, has seemingly not produced an overload of interest in all things food. Rather, we can’t seem to get enough of the world of Cuisine. The names of restaurants are lyrical and interesting. Who wouldn’t want to try “fud” (minimalist and hip) “Wolf Bar” (aimed at carnivores) “Mane St.” (for the horsey set) or Kidz Only (who pays the bill?) TV food shows are at the top of many ‘favorites’ lists and Amazon lights up whenever a new ingredient pops up in a recipe. It’s easy to be a foodie, or even a culinary genius, with practice and the “Buy with one click” button on our favorite online store.
So what’s the problem? None that I can see or taste unless I start to feel guilty using a vanilla bean that was hand-picked by a farmer in Madagascar, who won’t see but a fraction of the cost I pay. Or, with cows in abundance in the US, do we really need to import beef from Japan (delicious, that Wagyu!) that has to cross the Pacific, probably alive, then be killed here (TMI?) so as to be fresh when when it lands on our plates?
The much touted and/or maligned kale; varieties which include “dinosaur,” “walking stick” and “Russian,” all respond well to being massaged prior to eating. We read, “Lovingly rub the leaves with olive oil before adding to recipe” when prepping a meal, and it doesn’t strike us as unnecessary or crazy. We do it because the queens and kings of chefdom say to do it. When you post that Instagram of your “Native Grain with Pickled Mango and Lacinato (dino) Kale Salad” people expect that it has been massaged.
What to do then with finding out that Julia Child was a fan of the Big Mac and that when chefs get off work and gather in the early hours of the morning they might cook up sweet potato fries covered with nacho cheese, chili and crumbled Cheetos; and, oh yeah, a shot of single-malt scotch or a small-batch gin martini. The taste buds do not seem to mind.
Kim Kohler writes on the uncertainties of living in a liberal hot spot where everybody has an opinion, every opinion counts and nobody uses turn signals.