Boys in the Kitchen

Bacon cocktails, pig hearts, and fried anything with loads of fat and salt, piled high, are on award winning menus coast to coast these days, and it’s a trend that started a year or so back and is now in its heyday.

Most of the boys are white and from the upper middle classes, whose hopes of rebellion were fixed in teen dreams of success on the playing field, but who found that a failure to compete professionally left them stranded.

Not especially academic nor inquisitive, but eager for some structure outside of themselves that might help them get and stay organized, the military was a logical option.  But their families were, by and large, opposed to that kind of service and what with decades of wars, it was a dangerous course.

So many of these wayward, talented souls wound up cooking.

When you think of the real food that will last and is satisfying in this country, you think of Alice Waters.  Her menus remain gentle and reflective of desire and botany.  Fat and salt are there, but measured out like tension, and rather not the point.

The funny thing about dining out, in any event, is that the food, as a baseline, has to be good.  But since food is usually better at home, if you take the time and thought to get good ingredients and use them seasonally in abundance, a restaurant must provide conviviality and pleasure.  It’s one reason among many that the French, Italian, and Japanese succeed in that enterprise: Hospitality with pleasure.

I look forward to the day when we have more adults in the kitchen.

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