My Favorite Food
Like many things, I find that people over-estimate food. Of course, I can only say this from a position of being well fed myself, so I know that I am prone to accusations of hypocrisy. Being a gourmet chef, an aficionado of gourmet cooking, an acolyte of high society’s concern for sophisticated catering all strike me as exceedingly silly, because I am not so concerned with food - again, a conceit of the well fed. As I have said and written so many times before, when it comes to food I am only interested in the following: Is it delicious? How fast can I eat it? How many calories will it give me? That is all. Nothing more. The nutritional value of the food? Who cares? My body is an internal combustion engine and I have to keep it running, right now, on calories. Period. Nutrition is yet one more vain conceit, especially a vain conceit of the affluent.
I am sometimes asked what my favorite food is. I say that my favorite food is whatever food I am eating right now. I’m easy that way. As long as what I am eating is delicious, I can eat if fast, and it gives me sufficient calories then I don’t much care what it is, how skillfully it was prepared, or the reputation of the person/place that prepared and served it - all highly regarded by Japanese. When I want to eat I want to eat now, finish fast, and then go on to other things that were interrupted by the inconvenient necessity of eating. There have been occasions when Japanese have taken me out to eat as a guest. At a restaurant they boasted about the famous reputation of the establishment and the food it is renowned for. More often than not we have to wait an inordinate amount of time to be served something in baby-sized servings that look beautiful on the plate, but which nevertheless leave me famished at the end of the meal. This is the launch of my post dinner quest for a convenience store selling sandwiches to fill my stomach. I have always taken that as yet another sign of the Japanese penchant for consideration of form over content. I mean, to them it does not matter if the food is gross and not nearly enough to satisfy a stomach. What is important is the skill and reputation of the cook, the beauty of the exquisite food on the plate in front of you, and the fact that they are publicly patronizing a high-end eatery.
Bah!! No wonder Japanese have been so skinny for so long. Despite the invention in the Western religious thinking of ascetic monasticism, they deny themselves for the sake of fashion, playing on another cultural belief that life is for passively suffering, or merely enduring rather than for living (joyfully).