We excitedly discussed the tasting menu at James Beard award winning Eleven Madison Park, the wonders of Mario Batali's Eataly, the beauty of the food at Alinea, and the sadness of El Bulli closing. We spoke about the amazing things that chefs are doing, proudly described our most decadent dinners, traded cooking secrets, and revealed our dream dining destinations. The conversation is not a new one to me. It might be my favorite conversation to be honest, one that I have as frequently as possible with anyone who will engage in it with me, whether we've discussed it previously or not. This conversation, to me, is not at all odd, rather it is the norm.
Later however, as the party was dissected on the way home, I realized how rare those conversations are in every day life. Apparently, 90% of general conversations do not include recipes or menu recaps. Strange, I know. As I considered this, after of course I got over my shock and awe, I realized that that this fact is true. Most people don't obsess over making mozzarella cheese in their kitchen, or read endless articles about what's new in the food world. However, in another very true fact, everyone has an opinion on food.
Food just might be the greatest bonding conversation in the world. No matter your culture, food is an integral part of life. We all must eat to survive, and therefore, as a common thread between us, food is a conversation we can all engage in. Food is something that we remember. We look to food for comfort, as the memories of eating certain items brings us to happier, or simpler, times. We return to the ice cream stands of our childhood, we relish the memories of our mothers apple pies or meatloaf. We indulge in cake for celebrations. We cheat with pasta and cheese. Food may not be an obsession for all, but it is one of a few things that runs as a common thread between us.
Food brings us home. It can bring us joy, it can challenge us, and it can comfort us. It may not inhabit most peoples brains 95% of the time as it does mine, but it brings me such joy to know that after years apart, with our lives spread to different corners of the United States and our careers in so many different places, we can all come together and bond with a simple discussion of food.