Culinary Promiscuity: The act of sharing food with strangers – the ultimate taboo of the prehistoric nuclear family.
A couple of million years ago any cave wife caught passing a mastodon morsel out of wedlock ran a good chance of being beat to a fare-thee-well with the business end of an aurochs hock. A roll in the pile of moss at the back of the cave? Fine. Just no strangers near the meat locker. So says Richard Wrangham in his book, Catching Fire: How Cooking Made us Human.
That’s hard to fathom is an age when an entire political structure up to the Supreme Court is fixated on who does what with whom on their respective moss piles, while the second, once taboo carnal pursuit – eating and dining with or without companions or strangers – has become an American obsession with media empires of food porn and culinary competition that spawn seventeen year old chef phenoms. Bright young things battle for the best tables at $400 a meal celebrity restaurants and who we are is no longer what we eat but where we ate last night. Food and eating have become social accessories and identities. The roles have changed, values have flipped. Og would be agog.
Come to think of it, porn version 1.0 has it’s own media empires, too, but nobody delights in their children running home after school to tune in to the Playboy Channel..
On the culinary field you can legally and acceptably be as adulterous as you like. One man, One..oh, wait – nobody cares or regulates with whom you share how many bacon dogs, or at least there’s no law restricting the number. Yet. This makes eating a lot easier than it would have been back when cave women were charged with keeping an eye on the larder, while their mates went out slaying mastodons with slingshots and clubs. Of course so do 1,8000 BTU burners, Cuisinarts and espresso machines.
As focused as organized religion is on how many of which gender of us can morally form a family, it is thoroughly oblivious to our eating habits, although there are certainly enough nutritional gurus trying to infuse your choices with guilt and put order into the remaining totally legal carnal pleasure.
If you were to confess your latest five course tasting meal, “Father, I have sinned, I had three lobsters in a delicate bisque and half a dozen Kumamoto Oysters, a savory flan of fresh chanterelles with tumeric foam followed by a Meyer Lemon Tart,” Your confessor would more likely ask what wine you paired with the lobster than order three Hail Mary’s and a day of fasting. Tell him that you were conventionally promiscuous, however, and be prepared for some serious rosary time.
Culinary promiscuity, the practice, is not only not prohibited, it has in relatively short time progressed from acceptable to norm to social necessity in millennial America. We are, in fact, engaged in a nationwide culinary orgy. What fun.
“Culinary Promiscuity”, the blog, is about the nexus of food, cuisine, society, religion, people and just about everything. It is not a “dish” site, although we may wander in that direction, and it is not a recipe collection. Nor is it YELP! It’s about our tumultuously entertaining relationship with what we eat and where we eat it, about our political sense of nutritional righteousness, our food neurosis and the politics of cuisine, food and nutrition – not necessarily the same thing.
It covers, food fads, trends, gurus, food writers, social trends and the law. It will doubtlessly encounter sex at some point –Food and Sex are carnal twins separated by mores. Culinary promiscuity is about our constant fumbling at coming to grips with the things- mostly culinary – that make us happy, while the ghosts or our puritan history stubbornly seek the dark side of those indulgences. It’s about the conflict of purity with hedonism, elitism with hunger, the sublime, the ridiculous and the reality of food.
So for now, here, have a bite of my croquet monsieur. May I please have a taste of your pasta? Hey, Sailor. Let’s get promiscuous. Praise the lord and pass the Foie Gras.