I adore food. I like looking at it, and making it, and thinking about it, and reading about it. Sometimes I even like to eat it.


I’m not alone in this. Do a Google search for restaurants in your immediate vicinity. Go to your nearest bookstore (which is probably, I know, brick-and-mortar bookstores are a thing of the past) and check out the variety of cookbooks. My local newspaper has a food section on Wednesdays; does yours? I’ll bet it does.

We’re animals. We need to eat. We have romanticized this primal desire into something aesthetic, I suppose. If you starved me for a couple of days, I would gladly eat raw frogs and shoe leather and tell you that they were delicious. As it is, in our modern affluent world, I am choosy, and prefer fried scallops and whole-wheat pasta.

This bothers me sometimes. I was first brought up short against this by our pal, Nobel Prize-winner Doris Lessing, in her science-fiction novel “Re Colonized Planet 9: Shikasta.” In a footnote, she has her narrator – an enlightened alien from the Canopean Empire – say this: “Earth people are obsessed with food. They even write books about it.”

I’d never thought about this before. We don’t write books about how we breathe, or how much we enjoy sunlight. But we write books about food.

Food is a subtle pleasure. It can be sustenance, or it can be ecstasy. It can be a heavy blast of fat and carbs and flavors, like a Big Mac, or a blast of heat from a Mexican entrée, or a savory mix of flavors like paella. It can be sweet and bitter like chocolate. It can be hauntingly flavorful, like parmesan cheese or Portobello mushrooms (both of which belong to the umami flavor family).

We spend a good deal of our time eating. Some of us (including yours truly) spend a good deal of time cooking, or reading about cooking, or thinking about cooking.

A couple of questions: Are we doing the right thing? Are we spending our time wisely?

Another question: What’s for dinner?

About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: