Falling In Love With Every Bite. My Love A-Fare.
I love food. I love chefs. I love passionate cooks. So much so, I am writing a book about it. No this isn’t the book. Just a few foot notes of my accepted vice. It isn’t the traditional kind of story though. It’s a story that gives a proper introduction into my own personal love a-fare. It is a tale that is adventurous, cultural, sensual, provocative, enticing, mouth watering, passionate, and infinitely endless. Endless meaning it’s a love I believe will never end.
Do you know why it is I fall in love with chefs de cuisine and passionate cooks? Because in a single bite, when done right, you can taste childhood, hope, passion, sensuality, love, introductions to the gateway of the world. With a single spice, you find a dance penetrating your tongue. You taste the texture of an herb and you become one with a place you’ve never visited as if you are in a waking dream. I am a dreamer and the cultures of this big beautiful world entice everything in me – and – while I allow my mouth to part and the components of the fork or spoon invite me in, I feel as if, in a single bite, the world is no longer so big. In that moment, the world exists as one beautiful village living in unison. That is why I am always searching … This is something I have had glimpses of and what I will spend my days hoping to find. To taste perfection in a passionate dish.
So, here are the quick foot notes of the infinite culinary journey I am all too eager to take.
1/ FOOD IS SEX
Take a look at the photo below. Sea Urchin. Now imagine that cold frozen spoon dripping with condensation burrowing into the urchin, scooping out the tender chunks of sensual textures. Every part of your mouth engages, plays, frolics if you will. Tell me that isn’t like sex.
Now look at the plate below. The colors. The vibrancy. The way everything is situated as if, one by one, you are going to take your time allowing each ingredient to take part in a flavor orgy. Oh, I said it. A flavor orgy. Savory, sweet, fishy, biting, smooth, lusty, clean. Somehow every contradicting component find themselves under a welcomed spell of total submission. I rest my case.
2/THE GATEWAY DRUG: Indian Food
Why call it a gateway drug? Have you tasted REAL Indian food? Oh it is like nothing else. That undeniable cardamom, cumin, influx of tree nuts, curries that dare you to travel down a road you will beg to continue on, the dosa? Honestly, I could eat Indian food for the rest of my life.
Why? Indian food is where you can taste the devotion, the tradition, the beats of an old Bollywood soundtrack … it’s also where you can literally taste the risk taker. The chef or cook that dares to marry entirely different regions and do it with total abandon. It isn’t the kind of fare that can be boxed into a single word or style. With hundreds of regions, an onslaught of flavor, spices, and cooking styles that range from family to family, village to village, state to state, and beyond, you will taste something new anywhere you go in the country. The chefs that venture out? The cooks with a healthy curiosity to share that passion with the rest of us? Gems.
3/ TAKE ME TO BED OR LOSE ME FOREVER: Savory Dessert
Dessert is like the aftermath of an exotic night, a nostalgic stroll, an overbearing family dinner, the makeup sex after a fight, the $1 found in the middle of the street when you’re a kid. In other words, dessert is the real “closer”. That said, I’m a sucker for savory desserts. Why? Because I like to be surprised. I’m not a fan of predictable. Sure, chocolate “anything” is always a crowd pleaser but something about tart berries, fragrant herbs, shocking heat, salty smoked bacon – that’s where I lay down and give myself completely over.
The photo below? A doughnut, dipped in chocolate BUT in between? Coffee ice cream. It looks incredible but what would throw that over the top? A little ghost chile salt instead of hefty drips of maple coating.
In the following photo? Baked bacon skewers dipped in semi-sweet milk chocolate topped with macadamia nut and almonds though I would have opted for spicy pistachio nuts instead.
My point? Don’t be so quick to get stuck in a culinary routine. Don’t look at food as emotional baggage or your comfort. Look at food like you look at the most beautiful, sexy, witty as hell person you’ve ever met. It will always keep you on your toes, always challenge you, turn you on, piss you off, but at the end of it all? You will feel like they made the world come together.
I fall in love with chefs, cooks, and cultures regularly around the world. The ones that are fearless and unapologetic when they put a dish before me and ask me to eat it without asking any questions? It’s a marriage of sheer passion. Yes, I have food allergies and sure, it makes things tricky but life is already a tightrope act. Why not throw on a bowler hat and give it a little character?