On Being Fed
Julian K. Jarboe’s Care and Feeding of Your Sex Change
Folu Akinkuotu’s Humblebrag Diet
“What do you think about the way I cook?” Grace asked me yesterday, before amending her question into a request: “I want you to write about the way that I cook.” Like a diva is the first immediate and intuitive response that comes to mind. She either cooks via recall, riffing on recipes long-since committed to memory, or from a cookbook, always an actual, physical book of printed instructions, never by guesswork or instinct, never assembly. Elaborately, always, even if the dish itself is plain or austere. She once cooked a dish of braised ordinary grocery-store-bin carrots that was absolutely stunning and used as many pots and pans as a beef daube might have. A Mozart in action, but with all the paranoia and sensitivity of a Salieri. A restrained hand with sauces, but committed spiritually to the necessity of sauce when finishing a dish. Favors austerity, clarity, depth, onions, unctuousness, tarragon, citrus, skinned potatoes rather than jacketed, wide shallow bowls to plates, leeks, malt vinegar, smoke, heavy-lidded and heavy-bottomed pots, wearing a tea-towel over the shoulder rather than tying an apron, grainy mustard to smooth, dinner at ten, open windows to turning on the vent. Grudgingly permits additional seasoning-to-taste only after the first bite – try the dish as intended first. Resists letting intuition shade into habit, reflex, or haphazardness. Japanese, French, Moroccan, English, in order and by turn. Fork, knife, and spoon as default. No dairy, no eggs; butter permissible only as a cooking medium. A commitment to pleasure over restriction; does not begin to cook by thinking about the dishes afterwards. An indifferent dish-washer. A careful shepherd of ingredients; a thoughtful husbander of texture; a grim-dense-artful satisfaction in pleasing. Hungry for praise; scornful of appeasement. A womanly disdain for being managed. Extravagant with fruit, always eaten out of hand. Does not make breakfast. Either cooks or dines out – never arranges ‘a plate of somethings.’ Have you had it properly-made before? Each time a gift, an equal offering of love and precision.
Soleil Ho, Never Been Anyone Else Here Like Me
Serving the Dishes, Quoting the Texts: The Unfolding of the Banquets, “The vivid description of an Epicurean who throws himself on an eel, removes the flesh from its sides and reduces it to a bone, exclaiming: ‘Here is the Helen of banquets: I will be its Paris!’”