Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bowtie Madness

While eating my pasta this evening, I was very aware of the fact that this starch was just slightly undercooked. It was bowtie pasta and, while a majority of it was soft and lovely, the little 'cinch' in the middle of the tie was just a little too hard. As I ate, I became completely obsessed with this small fact. I ate each little bowtie individually, wondering if the next one would be exactly the same. And the next one... And the next one... I began to wonder: how much longer could I have cooked my pasta? Did I really undercook it or is this an acceptable way to eat bowtie pasta? I briefly considered googling it. I wondered if Rachael Ray had ever found herself in this situation. Or Giada De Laurentis. And, it was then, that I realized something I had suspected for quite some time, I am completely and totally obsessed with food.

When I'm eating, I'm remarking on the food's taste, it's quality, it's texture. When I'm not eating, I'm wondering what my next meal will be. What time it will be at? Who will it be with? My social life practically depends on eating at restaurants with my friends and boyfriend. And my TV viewing is almost exclusively limited to the Food Network and Top Chef.

It got me thinking, how and when did this happen?

I went from being a skinny little slip of a thing who only ate cheese and ice cream (seriously, my dairy consumption as a child was completely out of control) to becoming a healthy, average-sized person (ok, I have a little buddha belly but flat stomachs are overrated) who eats anything anyone puts in front of me. Except cilantro. But more on that another time.

When I studied in London, I recall having a conversation about food. Someone relayed their opinion quite freely, 'A good meal was just as good as sex.' I could not fathom this. And trust me, it wasn't because I had an amazing sex life. Quite the contrary. But I just could not understand why a person would love food. Personally, I didn't even like it all that much.

Cut to 7 years later. I'm sitting at an afternoon meeting at Nickelodeon. And someone put out some snacks. Ya know, some cookies, some brownies, some fruit, your usual meeting fare. Suddenly, I noticed that something else had also been put out: chips and dip. Now, I've got to tell you. There are few things on earth that I feel are better than chips and dip. I can eat the stuff until I'm sick to my stomach and still go for my 100th dip. I wish I was exaggerating. So, setting out the chips was all well and good. Fantastic even. Except that the glorious chips and dip were at the completely opposite end of the loooong meeting table I was sitting at. I didn't listen to a word that was said at the meeting from that point on. I was absolutely fixated on that simple delicacy. It wasn't a formal meeting, but it wasn't the type of meeting where you could ask to pass the chips. And I watched and watched, as those lucky souls at the end of the table dug into those chips. And that dip. And I waited and waited until they finally called for a 'short break' when I noticed that those chips had been completely devoured with only one little cruddy onion from the dip hanging off the side of the bowl. I was devastated.

I'm trying to pinpoint the defining moment. When I went from seeing food as a boring but necessary source of nourishment to one of the most pleasurable experiences there could possibly be.

And I have to tell you, I'd much rather see my pants tighten a little bit and have to work out just a bit more, in order to eat some delicious grub. I just wish I didn't have to obsess over the hardness of my bowtie cinch all the time :-)


  1. Couldn't agree more -- would MUCH MUCH rather work out a bit more so I can enjoy some chickpea fritters once in a while -- or even some cracklins?

    Think my social life started revolving around meals after college. Before then, social life consisted of studying, classes, sports, parties. Now we work all day -- and schedule our social time around lunch and dinner.

    It's fascinating how food brings people together! I'll bet you there's a study out there that says people who eat better have more friends...

  2. That's exactly why I like to ride my bicycle a lot. I like to eat, too. I'd rather eat a little more and exercise to burn it off then to eat less.