For a foodie, I had a spartan culinary upbringing.
Perhaps it began in utero, when my mother ate tomatoes by the bushel during her pregnancy, believing it’d lead to a smarter child.
Free food comes at a steep price.
A few years ago, I didn’t understand this. The mere words “free food” were enough to motivate me to scale mountains. I signed up for a two-week sleepaway chemistry camp junior year of high school purely because the itinerary advertised restaurant outings. I spent my interview rhapsodizing about Stephen Hawking and the theory of relativity, mainly because I couldn’t say much about chemistry. I figured physics would be a good stand-in.
I have to say this when initiating new dining companions. My friends, however, already know the drill.
No meal, no matter how beautifully plated (especially if it’s beautifully plated), is complete without an extensive photo shoot. I’ve been known to sharply reprimand errant dining partners who ruin the perfect photo of a chocolate-chip-heaped cannoli.
When the going gets tough, the overwhelmed escape town. That was my rationale behind why I wouldn’t feel guilty for a mini-vacation in the midst of midterm season, recruiting, and an ever-mounting stack of responsibilities. I’d been “planning” my culinary vacation to Portland, Maine for about a month. By “plan,” I mean that my better half had taken care of the inn reservation. A week before departure, I tried to make dinner reservations on OpenTable, only to discover that all the top picks were booked solid.
A lot of my plans are like this. Forging ahead in chaos.
I knew things were going badly when I began squeezing the blood out of the pancreas glands. I’d bought them for my offal-themed dinner featuring less traditional cuts of animals. Several friends were late—or never ended up showing—but I was still defrosting the beef tripe and manning a pot of braised pork belly.
“I’m failing so hard,” I said to my better half who was obediently stirring the green beans. He said something about being confident in my abilities.