Saturday, January 7, 2012

the Wonderbread diet

When it comes to eating out, I prefer what might roughly be called "weird shit" -- stuff that is honestly representative of China or Thailand or Ethiopia or wherever. I hate white-bread versions, the stuff that claims to be "Chinese" or "Thai" or "Ethiopian," but is really some dumbed-down version that will attract more customers. Give me something that I may really dislike but at least is true to its roots... I'm happy to pay for that on the few occasions when I do eat out.

I'm not faulting the restaurants that want to stay in business and in that pursuit are willing to serve up the mediocre look-alikes. I'm just saying I don't like them.

A buddy of mine and I once patronized at Thai restaurant in New York. The husband cooked and the wife was the 'wait staff.' One night, after we had been there often enough to be known, we asked the wife to ask the husband to cook up a couple of dishes -- anything -- that would actually be eaten in Thailand. The food came and was so spicy-hot that I thought my sinuses would be clear for a month. I'm not sure if the cook thought he could substitute spice for substance (a usual restaurant ploy), but I tended to believe he had simply followed our request. I would never order those dishes again, but I didn't feel I was getting the Wonderbread treatment.

Isn't it nice to get the 'real' thing? From restaurants, from people, from ourselves? Just this once, no more Wonderbread, no more hedging the bets, no more holding back, no more 'diplomacy' -- just straight up and straight across honesty? What a treat.

But how could it be such a treat unless there were such an avalanche of Wonderbread in this life ... go along to get along ... don't hurt anyone's feelings... don't cross the carefully-constructed boundaries ... and don't, for any reason, say shit with your mouth full. The social graces may oil the social wheels, but the unwillingness to speak a plain truth builds up like some pasty mass in the heart and mind and life.

I guess it's OK to go the pasty route with others, but I think everyone deserves something better from themselves -- a way to acknowledge and enjoy the one who creates all this acceptable ick, this money-making mediocrity. Cook up something that'll blow your sinuses out and not just assure a pleasant clientele.

Who makes this Wonderbread after all?

Is s/he really all that scary?

As a practice, I think everyone should take a few moments each day -- just a few moments -- to say or think one true thing. Just a few moments and the topic doesn't matter. Just wash out the Wonderbread and tell the truth: I hate anchovies or I can't run fast or kissing is a wondrous sport ... or something ... anything ... that's true.

With practice, there is a chance to get off a Wonderbread diet and put the wonder back into things.

1 comment:

  1. This was helpful also, since i am currently "sanghaless"/"religionless" Phil