Food For Thought

As you know, the Summer Solstice is not only the day on which the sun is at its northernmost extreme, but also the date after which you can no longer dismiss those extra pounds you gained over the holidays as “Winter Weight” and instead have to face the bleak reality that they are now, officially, fat.

In recognition of this fact I spent the week eating less. It sucked. Particularly because the following events also transpired in that time frame:

I Began Reading Kafka On The Shore In this book, the protagonist–a young Japanese man running away from his home in Tokyo–eats about once every three pages. Seriously, if I had to identify the major motifs explored in this work of literature, I would itemize them as:

  1. The alienation of youth from the culture in which they were raised.
  2. The loss of control that accompanies rage or other overpowering emotions.
  3. Noodles.

Worse, since the kid is on the lam, he’s typically half-staving before he eats. So the book is always, like, “I was really hungry. Oh man, so hungry. Can you even imagine how hungry I was? Go ahead and try. Are you imagining it? Are you imagining how hungry I was? It’s awful, isn’t it? Anyway, then I ate an enormous bowl of udon–yum!”

My Place Of Business Became A Landfill For Leftovers: Sometimes when you walk into the break room at my work you will find Krispy Kreme donuts leftover from a morning meeting, pizza from a lunchtime seminar, or an assortment of food from an event in which the caterers went overboard. This happens very rarely, perhaps once every other month. This week however, every time I went in there to get an 8 oz. can of V8 juice I would discover, like, a cairn of Macadamia nut and white-chocolate cookies on the counter accompanied by a Post-It note reading, “FREE! I IMPLORE YOU TO EAT SINGLE ONE OF THESE!!!”

I Got Stuck In Traffic Jam Alongside A Taco Truck I spent 40 minutes staring at the menu through the passenger-side window, thinking “Chimichanga with pico de gallo for $2.50? FUUUUCK!”

Man, even writing this post was a mistake. I should have {sigh} had a V8 …

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16 comments.

  1. My apologies. I laughed a little too long and too hard at your getting stuck in traffic next to a taco truck. I’m unsure whether it was the delicious irony or the fact there’s actually such a thing as a taco truck that tipped my over the edge.

  2. I agree that I enjoyed your taco truck experience.

    When I was a teenager we lived in a country experiencing food shortages, rationing, the whole nine yards. We also had trouble finding books in English (who knew?) and a friend sent us some. There was one book that was ALL about food. They were constantly eating. I can’t even remember if there was a plot. All you could do was tear at your hair and wonder if Satan would give you blueberry pancakes in return for your soul.

    And the leftovers? I am the culprit at my workplace. I’ll make a batch of brownies or cookies, my husband and I will eat two each and then wrap them up and take them to work so we won’t eat them all in one sitting. So, I’m the thin (relatively) person destroying everyone else’s diets. I’m trying to be less bitchy- I now have a small-batch baking book.

  3. I just wanted to say I appreciated your use of the word “cairn.” Go Red Talons!

  4. Kafka on the Shore is good though…even with all the food references. I think it is a Murakami thing. I’ve read a lot of his books, food is always present (lots of talking about dinner, what are we making for dinner, what did we pack for lunch, eating our lunch, etc.) and also general weird supernatural stuff. There you go, Murakami in complete: food and weird supernatural stuff.

    Our break rooms are always stocked with leftover food. I just avoid going there. Also, why it is when you are about halfway through your workout at the gym suddenly ALL the commericals on the tv are for FOOD. Argh…

  5. Now I won’t be able to finish my day without eating a taco. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

  6. I assume that it is blog entries like this that have transformed the above commenter Jonaton from his previously svelte Jonacoupleofkilos.

  7. If you want to complete your “Japanese culture + food” experience, be sure to rent the movie Tampopo. It’s basically a bunch of vignettes about the Japanese cultural connection to food. And a side story about a cowboy who drives a truck who rides into town to rescue a lady who runs a… (you guessed it) noodle shop. Awesome.

  8. Wow, you perfectly summarized Kafka on the Shore and had I been slurping noodles when I read this, I do think they would have come out my nose.

    If you haven’t read it, I’d definitely put Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World) on your summer reading list.

  9. Thanks for getting me jonesing for a chocolate macadamia nut cookie…or 3 dozen. Yum….

    Now I’ll have to go read a book to take my mind off them. Maybe War and Peace.

    :-)

  10. You might enjoy Knut Hamsun’s “Hunger”.

  11. You will also have four friends, whom you haven’t spoken to in six months, call you up to go drinking at the place with the best fries in the city.

    Just warning you.

  12. mm, kafka on the shore! a tasty book.
    i kind of love murakami.

    you know, i keep checking my (broken) microwave digital display in the hopes that I, too, have a setting for CHILD.

  13. Nice use of “cairn,” but is there any actual evidence it was meant to be used as a message-holder or navigation aid? Was their a lamp among the cookies? Not that it wasn’t a cairn otherwise, but the most respectable cairns are used as such. That’s all I’m saying. Sometimes you just have a pile of cookies.

  14. Much love for William’s “Jonacoupleofkilos” joke. Excellent, excellent.

    Also a resounding “seconded” for Daniel’s recommendation of Tampopo, which has been a favorite ever since it attracted my (then-prurient, now pure and cultural I swear) 13-year old interest in the mid-80s for the scene where the food fetishist couple play naughty games with a live prawn.

  15. Just redundantly seconding Daniel’s Tampopo recommendation. Spaghetti western overtures in eighties Japan, too noodly delicious.

  16. Reminded me when I was camping and forgot to buy drinks. I was quite thirsty and started reading the book I just bought at a garage sale: “The Coca Cola Fanbook”…
    I lasted about 10 pages, before I stared looking for a Seven Eleven…