Eat Me! (Gourmande’s Lament)


To maintain coherence, the reference to Duke of York’s HQ, (from my previous post), should smoothly transmogrify from the subject of art to that of architecture. Instead, I decided to disturb its natural rhythm and reverse back to food, as this is a subject not only close to my stomach but also to my heart.

I can’t help indulging my senses into this topic as today, on my mundane trip to Waitrose, somewhere between pet accessories and toilet rolls, I spotted no other, but one of my most revered restaurant critics.

Now, let me explain, I am a bit of a dreamer, and one of my most sacred, oh, my most aromatic, succulent and ripe dreams is to be a restaurant critic. Let me tell you, food is poesie to my senses, radar for my travels, but let’s not get soppy.

If you have been to Cannes, for instance, you remember the glamour, the sea, the festival, the women perhaps? Which memory would you take home? On my only trip to Cannes, one day I found myself on Marché Forville, (the local market), and I was mesmerized and transfixed. Nothing else mattered, I kept going back every day, unbeknown to my travel companions, in a state of perpetual excitement, a kind of culinary arousal, as if visiting a secret lover. I did take the memory of the abundance with me, the colours, the fragrance, as well as a few garlic bulbs, a sausisson gourmand, a loaf of bread + several other highly fragranced ingredients, carefully concealed in my luggage, like love letters.

Now, allow me to dream for a moment that I am turning my tantalizing dream (of becoming a restaurant critic) into reality – where do I start, I ask? Do I start by sending my own enthusiastic, full flavored restaurant reviews to various editors in hope to be noticed, acknowledged and offered the position? With the scarcity with which I frequent prime restaurants, it would take me to, at least, 2020, to compile my top 10 list and exercise my critical but fair pen in gastronomic verse. Believe me, I am blessed with most helpful imagination and taste buds that can savour and absorb every sentence, every morsel of information, from each restaurant review that I read. Alas, in vain!

Yet, for all those who share similar dream – there is a way to achieve it. And here is how:

It starts at the gates; when your parents decide on the most appropriate boarding school for you and leave you at the gates, not to be seen for at least 6 weeks, there is your chance. You don’t have to do much, not even make friends. You can be bullied, ridiculed, expelled, all will be well worth it. Because one day, when you start your journey as a junior at your chosen paper or a magazine, you will inevitably share a table in the canteen with familiar faces, ex school mates, most likely, and you will be proud with your achievements, (without outside help), singularly on merit. This formula works, as a rule, it is a way of doing it, if not the only way. There are exceptions, of course, to support the rule.
Do I speak from experience? Ah, no, I missed entirely on the gates, bad planning on my part, a serious faux pas. For I should’ve known that my planning should’ve started much earlier, long before the gates and the board. I should’ve planned carefully the location, way before I was born, even before the seeds were planted. One wrong move and there you have it, or rather, not have it at all.

Le Festin, 1959, Meret Oppenheim




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