Karina Brinn, who has known me since middle school, gave me a book called Food and Booze for my baby shower, and when I thanked her for thinking of me as a girl she’s known for decades rather than a vessel, she told me she was self conscious about buying this gift and had considered giving it to me privately or asking me to open it privately. She said that in the end, it was just “too Evvy” to pass up. In fact, opening her gift in front of everyone did provoke some raised eyebrows, and also some knowing smirks.
It’s true; I shamelessly love food and booze. When I travel, I choose my destinations based on chefs and build my itinerary around restaurant reservations. I plan events according to various growing seasons and vintage release dates. Amazon emails me when John Besh writes anything, and Mark (the M of EM Liquor) calls me when he gets a new Armenian brandy.
So here I stand now, well aware that by mentioning a baby shower, I’ve lost the interest of most of my male readers, and by discussing my frivolous interests, a good chunk of the women. A woman has to either apologize for such hobbies or proudly embrace some sort of rebellion. For food to be considered wholesome, it must be prepared in a crock pot and served family style, it seems. To be innocent, food must be functional, but oysters, which don’t fill you up, are a perversion of the dining experience. Serving wine with dinner may be okay if it’s sweet, but having new stemware with every course is gratuitous and therefore offensive.
It seems that just like a woman, food and booze can only be a mother or a whore – it can either sustain or seduce. This creates a problem for me and for Karina. Karina had decided to rebel – she did not marry her son’s father and she stared, unflinching, into my mother-in-law’s face when I tore the Chanukah gift wrap off her gift. But I don’t want to rebel; I see no need to rebel.
To prove it, I am going to start a burger blog. It will be about hamburgers, as American as apple pie, but I will always order them rare. It will be about gourmet burgers with exotic toppings, and sexy presentations. I will rank them on juiciness and firmness and mouth-feel. I will pair them with red wine and truffle haricot vert, and then it will finally turn out that to seduce is to sustain.
– E. Fanning —