I recently spent some time putting together a portfolio of poetry and prose. Digging through the dregs of ancient stories, started and sadly left to wither, I found a few non-fiction food pieces. It surprised me, to see these bright and hopeful, awkwardly humorous baubles, written, apparently, without any sort of provocation. A story about going to Europe after high school graduation, liberty as a bottle of wine, an essay about a failed attempt at making boxed Thai noodles, a gooey description of brownies. Here they were, these penny dreadful pieces of food writing, clogging up my hard drive like the residue from poorly scraped pots in the kitchen sink’s drain.
Have I always been drawn to food? Have I always felt the compulsory need to explain my life in terms of a slice of orange tart, a molding Roquefort, mint tea drunk in a crowded, smoky den? Did I start a food blog because it seemed like the most interesting thing to do for a class during my senior year of college, or because food writing and I were fated, like Romeo and Juliet, like Tristan and Isolde, like ketchup and mustard?
I don’t know. And honestly, I find these Grand Questions less interesting than the tasty piece of Linsertorte and cappuccino cooing to each other beside me in this café. I do, however, think it’s time to write the third chapter in the About Me index of Eat Me. Drink Me. Because clearly, we’re stuck with each other, this blog and I. We made it through the bumpy, exhilarating getting-to-know-you phase when there was me and Josh and a class project; we made it through the Josh-loss in New York, the competing-with-other-food-writing-jobs jealousy; and here were are, a committed couple, trying out cohabitation in Berlin.
So I guess the why am I still doing this matters less than the because I am. The principles upon which Eat Me. Drink Me. were founded – reading to understand culture, writing to understand self, cooking to understand how it all relates – are still valid. Food writing is the perfect medium for plumbing the depths of the human condition, where melodrama is allowed, where love isn’t cliché, where loneliness and fear are both symbols and experience. It’s food, not Borges, for goodness sake. We want our chocolate lava cakes decadent (though I do draw the line at ‘voluptuous’), our oranges snapping with citrus and briskness, our sloppily sloshed glasses of burgundy portals to dark and sordid secrets.
So there you go. We’re in it for the long haul, if only because I’d like to avoid finding a lonely little bug pile of compulsorily-written reminisces in some tragically mislabeled folder on my hard drive ten years from now. And because I like sharing – whether it’s food or my feelings or what I think about life, love, and the melodrama of the human condition.
And now excuse me, there’s one bite left.