Friday, November 16, 2007


As a corollary to my last post about being geeky and still (mentally) carrying out the daydreams of my middle school years, I got totally sucked into this Pajiba post about albums and movies that changed people's perspectives about music and film.

In the main post, the blogger mentions Joshua Tree, which I certainly can respect. I was actually lucky enough to avoid any terribly embarrassing musical alleigances (despite NKOTB's rise to infamy coinciding with my thirteenth year), but I did get two tapes for Christmas in eighth grade that set the stage for my musical taste in the years to follow. They were U2's Rattle and Hum and Kick by INXS. I still think they're pretty amazing albums, even after listening to both of them every single day for years and years. I was absolutely obsessed with INXS forever (up to and including their terribly concluded TV show). And U2's catalog was pretty much the soundtrack of my high school and college years. In fact, at a wedding a few weeks ago, as the bride and groom danced to Love Rescue Me, from Rattle and Hum - maybe the best wedding song ever - my friend Mark said to me, "I sort of think everyone should dance to U2 at their wedding." I agreed, and we did (U2 and The Corr's cover of Ryan Adams' "Where the Stars Go Blue").

I don't think there's one single movie that forever changed my take on movies, but I did agree with some of the commenters' descriptions of watching Pump Up the Volume. I didn't actually feel like an outsider in school, but I do still remember how much energy I had after watching that movie. And listening to the soundtrack - another eighth or ninth grade purchase.

And here's how this is about food: I think that food is for me what music or movies are for some other people. Meals, food literature, food TV, even offhand mentions of food in entertainment - these are the cultural markers I use to shape my worldview. Not exclusively, of course - I mean, I'm married to someone who speaks in movie quotes approximately 50% of the time - but to a large extent. I remember vacations because of what I ate. Holidays are about what's on the table or in my glass. Food rituals are my celebrations and mark my milestones.

But when did this happen? When I first started Mango & Ginger, I wrote a series of posts about my awakening to the world of food. The first one was called Learning to Eat. I just reread it, wondering if back in 2005, I knew when or what it was that got me interested in food. In the post, I vague credit an omelet I had on my first trip to Paris as the trigger. I do remember that omelet - it was delicious. But was that really it? Because I'd had a number of really good and memorable meals prior to that point - like the Chateaubriand at The Williamsburg Inn the night I graduated from college. Or the boeuf Bourgignon I used to order at Cafe Bretton all the time in high school. Even the prime rib I got almost weekly, from the time I was about six, on, at Busch's Chesapeake Inn (RIP). Or maybe it was something I had at home - we definitely didn't eat badly.

I wish I could point to a specific turning point. I think if I could, I'd better understand what, exactly, I expect from myself out of my interest in food. How to achieve my foodie goals.

And that concludes another really, really geeky post.

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