Gary and I went to dinner with our son and his friend last night. We paid about ten dollars a plate for the privilege of having someone else cook so we could have a nice visit. In the past we’ve paid as much as $25 each for a “special occasion” dinner. I suppose I could somehow justify a $50 dinner somewhere, but then I’d most certainly have to dress up and you know I don’t do that. Now, thanks to a recent issue of Sunset magazine and a news report on 60 Minutes I realize I’ve been eating junk food and there is glorious, magnificent, superb, outstanding, wonderful food out there in the world that is created by masterful artists and it is worth paying outrageous sums of money for the privilege of savoring it. One such meal is described as a “nine-course edible waltz” starting at $225. There is also a lengthy article about California’s foie gras controversy, and the news report this week was about the debate over Chinese vs. French truffles. Honestly….
Why are we so obsessed with food?
Why is anyone willing to pay so much to taste something?
Why does our food have to be so pretty?
Why should I be impressed by ice cream “frozen with liquid nitrogen”?
And will I know what I’m eating if some of the greens in my salad are “so tiny they’re handled with tweezers”?
Perhaps I’m missing the point and the people who eat like this are seeking the status gained by saying “I ate food prepared by Chef ____”. Whatever…
I know in the general scheme of things I am just as guilty as the next person of eating too much, paying too much for food, and eating out too often. There are people in our country who go to bed hungry each and every night. There are people who never get to eat in a restaurant. I try to compensate for my privileges by donating to food banks and buying snacks for my students and contributing to the well-being of others when I get a chance. And I suppose some of those people who pay $225 for dinner do the same thing. But it still baffles me that we have elevated food from the source of our sustenance to an object of wonder and worship.