Saturday, February 13

How I Learned to Love Food

I love food.

No, really. I love food. Passionately.

I love exotic foods; normal, every day foods like juicy burgers and cheesy pizza, but mostly exotic foods like spicy, creamy Indian foods with minty chutneys and smooth mango juice, raw slurpy oysters covered in spicy sauces, fresh, cool, delicious sashimi (salmon and mackerel are my absolute favorite btw) and spicy tuna rolls and eat-with-your-fingers Ethiopian spicy deliciousness with spongy injera and creamy seafood pasta with clams or crab and fruit fruit fruit delicious juicy raspberries and watermelon and persimmons and pomegranates and Quenepas (which I can FINALLY get at my local international superstore in Augusts!) and Asian pears and spiky rambutans! and all the leafy raw greens I can handle sweet, spicy Korean BBQ and instant ramen from japan with fresh mushrooms and Naruto fishcake and hummus and tabbouleh and crispy falafel and....

...need I go on?

I think one of the things that led to this love is the way food (and every other sensory experience) are described in FLB books. Point in case below, I swear.

Think I'm crazy? Check out all the foods mentioned in Weetzie Bat:
(in the order they come)

((After the Jump))

* Cheese, bean, hotdog, & pastrami burritos
* Strawberry Bubble gum
* Beer
* Club Drinks
* Strawberry sundaes with Marshmellow Creme
* Cheese & Avocado sandwiches on whole wheat toast
* Sugar coated Pastries
* Coladas
* Pizza
* Coke (& Rum)
* Bagels
* Pickles
* Turkey Platter w/ Thanksgiving sides
* Tequila Sunrise
* Pastrami Sandwiches
* Pretzels
* Lox & Cream Cheese
* Bon Bons
* Tomatoes
* Hamburgers & Watermelon
* Plaintains & Black Beans
* Wonton Soup & Fortune Cookies
* Red Stripe Beer
* Pink Champagne
* Apple Pie a la Mode (***)
* Ice Cream
* Chocolate
* Champagne
* Sushi (Hamachi in particular)
* Guacamole Tostadas
* Smoked Oysters & Red Wine
* Kahlua & Milk
* Chocolate Malt Eggs & Chocolate Bunnies
* Grapefruit Juice & Herb Tea
* Lobster
* Strawberries & Whipped Cream
* Eggs, Grits, Biscuits, & Sweet Potato Pie
* Pancakes
* String Cheese
* Chocolate Chip Cookies
* Milk
* Apples
* Carrot Sticks
* Pea Soup
* Linguine & Clam Sauce

Total Count: 45
Keep in mind this is a small book, less than 70 pages. It's a practically constant occurrence.

But it isn't just that these foods are mentioned that makes the book so sensually delightful; it's the way they're talked about.
Let's start, first, with the infamous first kiss between Weetzie and My Secret Agent Lover Man (notice the other sensual descriptions it's blended with);

He kissed her.
A kiss about apple pie a la mode with the vanilla creaminess melting in the pie heat. A kiss about chocolate when you haven't eaten chocolate in a year. A kiss about palm trees speeding by, trailing pink clouds when you drive down the Strip sizzling with champagne. A kiss about spotlights fanning the sky and the swollen sea spilling like tears all over your legs.
How can you not just sigh and be happy when you read that? It's an amazing mix of tangible things combined to express something so very intangible.

Another ginormous block of delicious writing comes from Dragons in Manhattan (Girl Goddess #9):

Anastasia believes you should never be afraid to mix cultures. She makes a Japanese-Italianish miso-pesto sauce for pasta and a bright-pink tadoori tofu stir-fry. I can tell what she's making just by sniffing the air. Sometimes when Anastasia doesn't feel like cooking, she and Izzy and I go to our favorite restaurants. We have golden curried-vegetable samosas and yogurt-cucumber salad under trees filled with fireflies in the courtyard of our favorite Indian restaurant. We have fettuccine at an Italian place where the Mafia guys used to shoot each other while they were sucking up pasta. We like the pink and green rice chips and the rose petals in the salad with the peanut dressing and the ginger tofu at our Thai place. There is a Middle Eastern restaurant we go to where you can get minty tabbouleh and yummy mushy hummus in pita bread for really cheap, and a funny Russian restaurant with bright murals of animals in people clothes dancing around cottages in the countryside. We eat borscht there, and drink tea from a silver samovar.
See what I mean yet? Delicious. It makes me long for something exotic and simple and amazing.

Another, from echo:

She makes tamale pies, spinach lasagnas, Indian saffron curries, coconut and mint Thai noodles, grilled salmon tacos with mango salsa, persimmon bread puddings and lemon-raspberry pies, each one in a minute and without ever glancing at a recipe.

Food (as one of the most tangible sensory experiences) plays an important role in FLB stories. The characters don't obsess over food (like I do), or ever really talk about it, but the experiences are there, again and again, showing food as another part of life that makes the whole beautiful picture.

I always feel like FLB characters eat exotic, sustainable, healthy, fresh kinds of foods. There are exceptions of course ( Laurel doesn't eat anything), but when reading it feels like part of the reasons these people are so happy and maybe even one of the reasons their lives are so beautiful is the food they eat.
It's an interesting idea, right? A little thing like a change in what you eat may put a spin on your life for the better.

For me, my idea is to try harder to eat things that are exotic and delicious and (hopefully) healthy and/or fresh. I'll talk about my food ideas in a later post, though, since this one's getting pretty massive. For now, I just wanted to show some of the most prominent food experiences in FLB stories, and just show you what I mean.

Be happy.

1 comment:

  1. For an entire summer I ate cheese and avocado sandwiches on whole wheat bread, and every time I did I thought of that line in Weetzie Bat. Thank you for writing what I've felt, but never quite been able to articulate: the magic of FLB's world, created through the everyday experience, and especially food. Now I want to eat "exotic, sustainable, healthy, fresh" foods and live a life as magic as theirs...
    I just stumbled on your blog, btw, and I love it!!


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