Food Sections

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An Ode to Food Sections


I don’t know about you but on these cold and dark November days—clocks cowed back an hour to the time of our father’s fathers—I start to think obsessively about food. Fortunately, I am neither alone nor outside the ordinary. In the two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, everyone and his cousin twice removed (from the kiddies’ table) is thinking about food, most especially newspaper and magazine food editors.

Some people dream of money. Some people dream of bling. And some people dream of wheels (arrest-me-red race cars are cute, after all). But me, I dream of Thanksgiving.

It’s easy. You can even dream with your eyes open. Consider all the color photography around us—feature upon feature with shots of brown-skinned turkeys, glistening bowls of homemade cranberry sauces, steamy piles of stuffing, Brussels sprouts and sausage, sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie, squmkin pie (but mostly, and dearest to my heart, faux mincemeat pie).

Without invitation, Norman Rockwell crashes the party and people laugh. And why not? Everyone at the table is leaning in, smiling, forgetting about the world (thank Squanto!) for awhile. What’s not to like?

These days you’ll find me, then, in the Food sections of the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. Bon Appetit? Yes, please. On-line recipe sites? Some more, please, sir! A gazillion ingredients requiring a full-time cook? Who cares, I’m just reading and dreaming here. You’ll find me in the dictionary between “vicarious” and “pleasures.”

Thanksgiving is where I’d like to slam on the brakes, avoiding Christmas altogether. Or maybe make like ten lords a-leaping by jumping over Christmas altogether. Thanksgiving resonates (and smells up the house with nostalgia) because there’s no gift-buying, no lines, no politics, just family (OK, maybe some politics, if you count Uncle George) and *food*.

And a few winers. And loosen-the-belt nappers. And football-game watching zombies.

But most importantly, it’s a festival focusing on one of life’s most heralded pleasures: food and drink. Before the day, in living color and 28-page spreads. After the day, in leftover turkey soup and ridiculously fat sandwiches featuring breast meat, stuffing, and cranberry as condiment (extra points for gravy)

Calories? No one cares. Cholesterol? Take it outside, Debbie Downer. For one day only, we’re here to cast care to the wind and let cheer and conversation in.

Just had to take a time out to say all of this, is all. Now back to my regularly-scheduled eye feast.  Reading isn’t fattening, after all. It’s just anticipation. Like Carly Simon says….