Thursday, April 16, 2020

Diasporic Dining: Table for Two or Folie a Deux?

Many people who have grown up in big cities or even suburbs eat one or more meals out a day. They have business lunches. Jewish families famously like Chinese food on Sundays. Kids and adults (particularly those in recovery) hang out in diners. New joints with exotic cuisine are all the rage. That Georgian place didn’t serve Southern food but specialized in dishes from Tbilisi which anyone in the know realizes has nothing to do with Russia. Sophistication for your typical metrosexual revolves around trendy nightspots which like the Momofuko chain of restaurants feature colorful and inventive menus. But let’s say you’re at the beginning of a pandemic? Is it worth risking your life to get that table in the place which is so much in demand that you generally can’t even get a reservation unless you know someone? And then what to do when the shelter-in-place orders finally come to pass and you can’t go anywhere? People who have not touched a pot or pan in years and are so used to eating out or ordering in are literally forced to feed themselves, as if they were human fois gras. If any benefit can be said to derive from a calamity in which normal life comes to a halt, it's the ability to compensate for change. Those who haven’t cooked in years, or really ever, may suddenly discover new abilities or find themselves reviewing techniques they originally learned when they studied Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking with their college roommates. Once the shit hits the fan you’re going to be sitting in front of the tube with your significant other either eating cold Franco-American SpaghettiOs out of a can or indulging the delights of canned tuna under glass.

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