Thursday, December 01, 2005

On Fashion and Food

I’ve been a devotee of Manolo the Shoeblogger for well over a year now, ever since he posted his first treatise on the love of shoes, in all their superfantastic glory. While he is, officially, an anonymous blogger, he’s never been shy about sharing his likes and dislikes with his adoring readers. So I’ve known for quite some time that the Manolo, he is “something of a gourmand.”

This week, he suggests Jose Andres' Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America as a holiday gift. I haven’t read the cookbook, so I can’t personally comment on it, but I have read about the author and he sounds fantastic, both entertaining and knowledgeable. But this is not what this post is about.

When I read the Manolo’s post, I started thinking about the connections between food and fashion. True, there are foodies who pay next to no attention to their appearances, and there are certainly many fashionistas who shun the food (the evils of the fashion industry that spawn those attitudes belong to another post entirely.) But really, the intersection between those who love food and those who love fashion is large, and understandably so.

Appreciating both fashion and food is, at its core, about responding to the sensory qualities of a basic human need. About elevating those needs, taking them beyond the minimum requirements for survival.

When I see a great dress, or a perfect pair of shoes, my body reacts. Appreciation (and, being honest, wanting) bubbles up – literally, I start to feel fizzy, like I’ve been drinking champagne.

The same is true for food. At my first glimpse, or scent, of truly desirable food, whether that means a multi-course meal or a single, pristine wedge of cheese, I feel the same bubbles, the same fizz. Because for me, and for many other people (I think), great fashion and great food are much the same. They meet needs on a basic level, but go so much further.

(This is probably true for anyone who, like I do, believes in the transcendent quality of cooking and eating I wrote about last week.)

On that note, as I listen to the Food Network as background noise, I can't help but think: Barefoot, she is like Coco Chanel. Rachel Ray (who's voice is currently attacking my ears), more like Kathie Lee Gifford. And Emeril, well I just don't know. BAM!

UPDATE: Aiiiyyyyyy! The Manolo, he has linked to this post. His thoughts are insightful, as usual, and take my comments to the next level. His un-snooty connoisseur is the type of person I hope to one day become (one day when I have much more experience with food, fashion, art, and a number of other fields). Welcome, Manolo readers! And thank you, Manolo!

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