I just finished Nicole Mones' novel, The Last Chinese Chef and enjoyed it thoroughly. In reading the novel, I could almost taste the food. The five-duck duck dish, the baked chicken which had no chicken meat...just the golden brown skin stuffed with minced vegetables and ham, the 30 crab tofu that did not have any crab meat in it...the artifice of what seemed to be turned out to be something else as experienced by the tastebuds. What a mind trip to savor the flavors with my imagination.
I really want to eat Chinese food now...but not just any kind of Chinese food. Delicious morsels that taste flavor-full without the fullness of overconsumption. I want to eat pillowy buns filled with kau yuk...pork fat that melts in the mouth bathed in red food coloring #5. I want to eat my Aunty Rose Tom's birdnest soup...luscious texture and sublime flavor.
This is the exact opposite of the other book I just read...Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life as we knew it. This book chronicles life after a cataclysmic meteor strike...hoarding food, surviving on melting gray snow water, relishing a fresh egg. Two extremes of thought regarding food, and ways of life. Good reminders of the central role food plays in our lives.
Thinking of these two books, I wonder about the perspective of people who don't really care to eat...and I am not referring to people who have eating disorders. They are really missing out on a very pleasurable pastime. Although overeaters spend a lot of time thinking about food, eating a lot of food which may not necessarily be good food, there must be a kernel in there about the pleasure of food gone wrong. I guess I will confess that I like to eat well flavored food, I like to cook good food, I like to watch people enjoy eating the food I have cooked, I like scheming about food to cook. Now if only I can quit the gall durned habit of eating too much...then I'll be a happy baby. Bon Appetit, you fellow food maniacs!!