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October 5, 2010

FOODENTS: In the beginning, there was food

Sometimes when you pick up a piece of paper, that piece of paper is covered in letters. And sometimes, in the life of Man, extremely important things happen. Often things which at first seem no more significant than a lonely twig, the guttural wailings of a lonely waif, or a piece of paper covered in letters. Is this one of those things? Is it? Is it?! It is.

Take a quick breath of air, reader, and ready your imaginations­­—in we go.

Before food (B.F.), the world was a cold, dark, and unforgiving terra.

After food (A.F.), the world is rendered as soft and dry as a gently rising soufflé. Food is happy and free. Food congregates in pleasant bundles like the fat, lowing lambs of Etruria dotting the vista like white lint on a shirt black as the cold autumn night, like oh-so-many adolescent salmon wandering sinuous rivers. We call these bounteous herds "courses." And the fields that they roam those we call "restaurants."

But it is the invention of food that is the topic of discussion today. "Restaurants" will be examined closely in future columns. One must not be too hasty. It would be madness to dive into the entrée without having first banished both soup and greens to the duodenum. And, dear reader, for all our faults, madness is not among them.

Food was invented in 1407 A.F.

In the era B.F., man found the basic nectar necessary for life in a barren selection of paltry solids known as “paleophoods.” These “paleophoods,” so much as we can intuit from modern archaeological evidence, consisted of five academies. Some parallels can be drawn from the “paleophoodal” academies to the modern so-called “Food Pyramid,” but not many. About five.

But for all their Neolithic inadequacies, the simple joys of the “paleophoods” must not be forgotten, for modern food bears with it an unfathomable burden. What work of art is this food? This food is ornamental and expensive. This food is genetically engineered and mass-produced. This food has the ability to incur the sublime. It brings peoples together, inspires romance, and fuels the hungry Men of Science working even as you read this column to carry our civilization to its final and ultimate Utopia. Food is life.

And you, I fear, cannot hope to explore this alone. We are your guides through this complex and misunderstood realm of shadows and shades. We are your Virgils. Your Rhadamanthi. Your boatmen on the River Styx. The reason we have opted to write a column on food, as opposed to some equally engaging topic, is that we do not know anything else. Food is our means, our ends, our world, and our all-consuming passion.

But in all seriousness, food is hard to find, and food is expensive. We’ll tell you where to find good food, and how much it costs, and how to get to where it is. And why would you do this? Because we think (and we hope that you think—or will think) that eating Good Food is fun and important and a good way to spend your time—perhaps even an essential ingredient in the plentiful stew we call The Good Life.

One last thing: Let us speak for a moment about drink. Drink is like food, but drink is not food. Whereas food is solid, drink is not. Whereas food is warm, drink is not. Whereas food is good, drink is not. And, whereas food is the topic of this, our column, drink is not. Nope. Make a note of that.

Until we meet again, dear reader.

Farewell, stay well, and eat well.

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