In light of yesterday’s post on hunger and my incessant urge to eat, I feel compelled to continue in the “foodie” vein today and share the ugly truth about my pathetic palate.
Lest there be any confusion, allow me to be perfectly clear, I do not have sophisticated taste—at least not where food is concerned.
So—my dear friends—fans of “Top Chef” and all things Food Network—please know, I’m not one of you.
I respect you. I may even admire from a distance—but always from a distance—and with Twinkie firmly in fist.
My tongue loves simple—craves country kitchen.
My palate is far from adventuresome.
Yes, I’ve eaten in exotic locations like Thailand and India, but in those places I have tried, as often as possible, to consume the most American of foods. In Hanoi I begged for burgers. In Delhi I ate Pizza Hut as frequently as those I traveled with would tolerate.
Yes, I’ve eaten sushi. I’ve tried really hard to like it. I pretended to love it even on my first date with Sara, who does indeed love food, regularly reads Gourmet Magazine, and admires men like Anthony Bourdain. But “fake it till you make it” doesn’t translate into loving ceviche or any kind of raw fish, for that matter.
The closest I come to sophisticated palate involves my love of crème brulee. But mostly that’s about craving the caramelized sugar crusting the top. Yes, I may rave about rosemary a bit too much to qualify as a complete culinary klutz, but really, what’s not to adore about any herb used in Italian cooking. America’s eaten spaghetti for decades.
My partner Sara mocks my culinary habits, claiming (rightly so, I might add) that left on my own, I would eat only bread and butter—and both in huge quantities. I’m indeed a fan of the baguette and adore beignets, but I love them, not because of their relationship to French cuisine, but because they’re both basically bread. I love flour. I crave yeast. Bagels, biscuits, baguettes, beignets—I’m all about bread.
But the bottom line is this—
There’s too much hunger on the planet to praise the pampered palate. I’d rather ridicule molecular gastronomy. Who wants their food deconstructed, anyway?
That I live in a culture with an entire television network dedicated to all things food-related nauseates me. I come from a country with an obesity epidemic but have lived in one like Haiti—a place that’s plagued by not enough to eat—people too poor to feed themselves. This is a painful irony to swallow.
When will America’s “biggest losers” step up to the plate (or away from it, for that matter) long enough to feed their malnourished neighbors in places like Port-au-Prince or Bangladesh?
My palate may not be as sophisticated as Ruth Reichl’s, but do foodies like Rachael Ray respect hunger enough to know that morning in America does not mean breakfast in Haiti?