Food Porn

24 thoughts on “Food Porn”

  1. I would have thought that the first two numbers on the bill for dinner would have been reversed.
    I was also thinking of quoting some lines from Frank Zappa’s “Valley Girl”, but this time I’ll spare everyone my cynicism.
    Yep, in the not too distant future, food will be a problem.

  2. Meanwhile, my family was re-creating my childhood by having an actual vacation at Point Pleasant Beach NJ, near your old town. On the train out of NYC, so my adult children could come and go over the course of a week based on when they had to work.

    One perk was the ability to get good old Southern Italian/Italian-American food, which is hard to get in Brooklyn anymore because the folks who make it moved to NJ as parts of the borough have gone upscale. With eggplant in season, we got two huge eggplant parmesan heroes for $6 as a special. Belmar seems even more like I remember it.

    The problem isn’t that most people can’t afford $16,000 dinners. Back 100 years ago, in the robber baron age, they couldn’t afford Delmonicos either. The problem is most affordable local week-off alternatives, such as the area along the North Jersey Coast line, suffered disinvestment in the air travel age, and are less accessible to working folks than they were back in the 1950s and early 1960s — back when average income was no higher than it is now.

    Fortunately, this area seems to be recovering from hurricane Sandy — lots of construction while we were there. In better shape than the similar areas of Upstate NY we often go to.

  3. Huh! That restaurant bill is more than my annual income!
    One thing I enjoy about your blog, Johnny, is the wide range of lives and life experiences I get to peek into:)

  4. Haute cuisine is an expensive art form, but I’d hate to see it go. It was a private art form in 18th century France, but it democratized somewhat with the French Revolution. You had to have money, but you no longer had to have a title. It’s a performance art, with the food, the service and the setting as formalized as a play. How much would a private Shakespearean troupe charge for a performance, especially if they were very good at it? How much would a well known band charge for a private performance at a wedding?

  5. The gardens are more exquisite to me than the food. I only recently started following your blog and I didn’t know, when I saw first the many enviable garden plots, if you were showing us your own gardens. I think they are the sort that only full-time gardeners — lots of them — can keep looking that way.

    I wouldn’t turn down an invitation to The French Laundry, but would be embarrassed, and a bit disappointed, to only talk about the food over dinner. But then I’m not an epicure, or gourmand, or whatever the word is. Maybe even the finest of meals should not be at the level of food porn, if we want to encourage the best aspects of our humanity. In “Babette’s Feast,” they did not talk about the food and wine, but the experience of it lightened their hearts and made them more loving and forgiving to one another. One wonders if modern counterparts might have tackled controversial social issues and engaged in truly civil discourse over a meal like Babette’s.

  6. Just out of curiosity, how many courses were there and was it a faux-pas to request a second serving of anything? The portions look so minuscule.

  7. I’m reluctant to click on a link which includes either of the two four-letter words in the title of this essay, for fear of being offered a vast array of additional unwanted media for all tastes. But it was worth the risk, Johnny, so thanks. Did you mean to imply that the perfect vegetable garden supplied the perfect restaurant next door? Or was it just part of the decor?

      1. Do you have any figures on just how much food that garden DOES supply to the restaurant? (There’s a difference between intention and execution, of course.)

        1. From what I’ve been told the three acre garden supplies the lion’s share of the fresh produce as well as some eggs and honey to three different restaurants in the area and donates the surplus to the Napa Food Bank. Is ALL the food local? No. I didn’t see any wheat or cattle being produced across the street. The truffles in our meal were imported from Perth, Australia for example. But intention and practice come very close in this instance.

          I’m less interested in fetishizing local food and more interested in how we might all feed ourselves if circumstances compelled up to do so. WWII involved victory gardens. Do people today even know how to grow and preserve food to carry them through a similar situation? We may find out the hard way.

          1. My own attempts at “victory gardening” have been substantially foiled by the local wildlife (squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, groundhogs, and deer), in suburban Washington DC. In a crisis, any of those might go into the stew pot, and then we’ll see what could be grown. My father told me that deer never bothered his family’s Depression-era garden in rural Michigan, because they had been hunted so thoroughly. Squirrels were hunted to extinction in Washington DC; the squirrel were re-introduced when times got better.

            I have neighbors who tend gardens in the high-voltage transmission line right-of-way, so that’s an option people might investigate for “urban agriculture”. (They grow onions, which apparently are immune to varmint attack.)

  8. The US Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances would be proud.

    A $15,880.43 net worth ignoring primary home equity was percentile 39.5% for all household life savings in America in 2016, and almost thirty-five million US households or 28% were estimated to have net worths lower when including all home equity.

    Well, if we can ever bail out the complexity you talk about, Johnny — increasingly brittle patches on patches on interlocked patches where technology A is hoped to predict and halt cascading failures of technology B, C, and D — it’s apt to look lots like, say, Superfund.
    The evil public sector sops the mess up; hoping, of its final tab, that previous levies banked up more than pennies on the dollar from our noble private job creators of the New Economy.

    1. Ah, a taste of bitter to complement Johnny’s sweet tale. All of life is a savory story. There will never be perfect equality. Johnny, more than most, seems completely aware and mindful of this.

  9. Babette’s Feast, I agree.

    I know we all can’t sit around eating this way and discussing things like taste, but I’ll admit it’s a refreshing change over the tired sports & weather topics that come up – when there’s discussion at all. We know how flame others thanks to FB et al but we’re forgetting how to talk to each other.

    1. An interesting addition to this thought: when we try to sit at a table without our phones/tvs/etc., we sometimes babble like idiots to fill in the (supposedly) empty space!

  10. Interesting post, as we have come to expect (You spoil your readers, JS….)

    I’m interested in what a precious group (and they DO look rather precious, you must admit) actually talks about over 4 hours at one of the most famous restaurants on the planet…..

    1. What do folks chat about while dining at The French Laundry? Food. Wine. The tastes and textures. The play between sweet and savory. The pairings. The way ingredients have been coaxed into doing things you wouldn’t expect – or ever be able to replicate at home.

  11. Ah, her own version of “Babette’s Feast”. I love it! Thanks to you both for sharing the story of her very special birthday.

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