the joy of eating

When it comes to the joy of eating, for me,  there are two types.

1.  Eating for the selfish, pure pleasure of indulging my senses and nobody else’s.
2.  Eating for the enjoyment of sharing the experience with others.

This week, I did both.

Often when I eat really wonderful food, I need, I want to be with friends.  While I don’t mind dining alone,  it’s almost always nicer when it’s a shared experience.  Similar to seeing a great concert.  If you’re anything like me, once the music starts you’re off in your own little world, shutting out the text messenger sitting next to you, or the loud breather sitting in back of you.  But once the music ends, you want to talk about  the volume of the timpani, or the extemporaneous piano riffs.  You want to exchange how the experience affected your senses.  This same encounter carries over to eating.  Most of the time.

For me, when it comes to eating unadulterated, steamed Maine lobster, I’m solo and prefer it that way (for purely shellfish reasons, of course).  Eating lobster is unworldly.  I am hovering six inches off the ground, off in my own lobster loveland surrounded by a sea of drawn butter.  Just hang a Do Not Disturb sign around my neck and leave me be.    The lobster affects me in a way that can’t be shared, let alone described (though lord knows I’ve tried).    And I love it that way.

I suppose that whenever we cook for just ourselves, the same is true – we are a one man show performing for a single audience member who knows your likes, dislikes and what you’re in the mood for.    We alter the way we cook when it’s just “us.”  Maybe a little more butter, or truffle oil –  no less indulgent.

On the other hand…

It always gives me great satisfaction and warms my heart when I can turn other people on to one of my culinary favorites, be it a new way of cooking brussel sprouts,  the Spoonful of Happiness at my neighborhood sushi bar – Koo, or the baby backs at Sneaky’s BBQ.   I like to think that in a very small way, my friends are trusting me, omakase in a sense, validating my good taste by putting theirs in my hands.

This past Wednesday, I took an informal office poll to see if anyone would be interested in partaking in a order of BBQ from my new favorite BBQ non-joint joint Sneaky’s.  A handful had seen my last order of baby back ribs, cole slaw, sweet potatoes, and mac ‘n cheese, a few even stole a couple of bites.  Maybe it was this temptation. It could have been the reviews on Yelp.  Possibly it was my exultant praise on gfork.  Any which way, I was able to get ten people to pork belly up and see the way of the gfork for a Friday lunch order.  Four baby back ½ racks and six pints of pulled pork later, I was in an office of the satiated.  Food comas abounded.  And as Ed J. exclaimed to me, “You’re the baby mama!” after patting his stomach, proudly showing off a nice pork induced bloat.   And I glowed and cooed for the rest of the afternoon.  Not only from eating great food but knowing others had taken part in this experience as well.

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