Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Doyenne and the Dancer

There was an old episode of Iconoclasts on last night. I've seen it before but I watched anyway. Alice Waters is a doyenne of American cooking. I think there are a few branches in what we call American cooking. She is another woman who went to Paris and learned how to cook and eat but she came back with a desire to eat the way she ate there in her own town. She may have used some French technique but she was focused on eating what she could buy locally. I remember reading about her way back in the day. She's been trying to raise the quality of food in schools way before Jaime Oliver. She uses the obesity word now and again, which is aggravating but she is really someone who loves food and cooking and gardens.
I've eaten at Chez Panisse three times, once upstairs and twice downstairs. It's like church for me. There's an open kitchen. Everyone looks so focused. I could never work there because I like to talk and laugh and even sing while I cook but I admire the monk like manner.
I liked the pairing of her with Baryshnikov. He's wonderful. They have a very cute old friend vibe.
Sometimes I worry that I sound disapproving of people's food choices. The truth is -- I am. I mean I don't really care if people want to eat junk but it's not interesting to me. And it makes me sad. I can't help but think they'd enjoy good food if they had it prepared by someone like Alice. I know I'm wrong about that. It's an emotional reaction. I remember sending some good chocolate as a gift to a friend who sheepishly tried to tell me that they didn't like it. It wasn't sweet enough. I felt bad that they felt bad but I had a hard time letting go of the desire for them to get why it was so good.
In the show she and Mikhail eat a salad with beef tongue and micro greens. If she served it to me I would eat it but I wouldn't order it. I'm not a fan of organ meats. I do admire the trend to cook the whole animal but I don't have the palate. And yet the salad looked so beautiful.
Food approval/disapproval is complicated for fat people. When you live a life in which you're taught to mistrust of your desires for food you need to have a sense that your choices aren't wrong in order to heal. I would beg forgiveness if I seem to harsh on anyone.
The connection between food and art/craft is so thrilling for me. I love having a great meal with a great friend, especially when that friend loves good food. I loved hanging out with Alice a Misha.

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