Monday, 16 March 2009

bread and butter love, part 1

That's Sidney Smith over there -- English essayist, cleric and anti-establishment gadfly. He is supposed to have been one of the funniest conversationalists ever. He said once (not that this is a particularly brilliant bit) that his idea of heaven was eating foie gras to the sound of trumpets. I thought of Smith’s line the other day when my son Ed asked what one food I could eat forever. (I love having this kind of conversation with Ed – He is fond of asking questions that begin: If you had all the money in the world … or: If you had to lose one of your … or: If you had to choose between … )
Black licorice, I said. It was what I was eating at the time.
No, not really.
What then?
I swallowed. The idea of eating any one food forever sounds more like hell than heaven, but I knew what Ed was asking. A food I’d particularly miss, a food I liked enough to eat every day ….
Is coffee a food? I asked. Or red wine?
No, they’re drinks
. Ed’s expression was momentarily concerned: poor old Dad, losing his mind.
I thought about bread and butter type foods – foods with staying power, not too fancy. Margery Allingham, one of my favorite classic mystery writers, differentiates between cake love and bread and butter love – cake love being that incredible over the top passionate kill yourself can’t get enough of the person love, as opposed to the bread and butter comfortable day by day smiling and growing together love. So, I thought, what food would fall into the bread and butter category for me?
Not bread and butter, which I don’t eat much of. Spaghetti? No. Roast beef ? Not at all. (Apparently the Duke of Wellington ate roast lamb every day. Can you imagine?) Oatmeal cookies? Cold cereal? Peppers and tomatoes? Szechuan chicken? Sausage? Hmm, maybe.
Then it came to me. Peanuts, I said. Or maybe peanut butter.
Ed nodded seriously. Yeah, not bad, he said.
What about you?
I asked.
But at just that moment Imo called from upstairs. Dad, come quick – it’s an emergency!


Marilyn said...

I can't wait for the next part.

Anonymous said...

You know, I'm sitting in my coffee place reading their taste chart (I read everything, yeah) and it says "the smell of roasted peanuts in coffee is a sign of elegance and is sometimes called the Greek Taste...also that Greeks often add raw peanuts to Greek coffee to enhance it."

So you could combine your daily culinary loves.



Richard Scrimger said...

And here I thought the Greeks were merely the founders of Western philosophy. Who knew they had great insight into coffee as well. Unless, like so much philosophy, they stole their culinary ideas from the East as well ... RS