No Country For Good Food

I’ve realized something. If you live in the city long enough, you become like animals who’ve been in the zoo so long they can’t survive anywhere else.

This became glaringly apparent to me last week. I had a business meeting in the hinterlands. Ok, well almost the hinterlands. It was New Jersey. They served lunch. Suspicious looking cold cuts and big puffy white bread rolls. Cranky couldn’t touch it. I decided the soup was the safest thing.

Then they served dessert. I walked back and forth in front of the buffet like Patton inspecting the troops. I saw a platter of fruit. Hmmmm, a possibility. Then I saw it. A tall cylindrical container with a lovely yellowish color liquidy substance. “Oh wow,” I said to my boss, “They made us FRESH ZABAYONE! Isn’t that great? I LOVE ZABAYONE!”
ZABAYONE! ZABAYONE? Am I nuts? It was MELTED VELVEETA to dip your pretzel in. Ah – VELVEETA! HELLO VELVEETA! I can’t. I can’t even recognize food items outside of the city.

My husband and I have tried vacations in the country. It’s always a disaster. Have you ever stayed in a B&B? It should stand for Boring & Boringer. We stayed in one once run by WASPY alcoholics who had pictures of the Princess of Monaco on the piano., who they referred to as a distant relative. I didn’t ask. Oh, and they were horse people. But, as far as running a B&B went, they sucked. They were so tanked, that every time they tried to tell us where a good restaurant was, we got lost. I actually started crying hysterically one lost night in the car, “WHY IS EVERYTHING SO FAR APART?” Which boils down to what is wrong with the country, besides the food. You have to drive 40 minutes to get to any restaurant. And none of them were good believe you me. I had never even seen canned vegetables before. I was frightened of them.

We went to the Alps once and food was still a problem. For the first time in my life I said a prayer before each meal. My prayer was, “DEAR GOD PLEASE SEND A VEGETABLE!” All those people eat is meat and cheese. And sometimes a potato to dip into the cheese. And a lot of the meat is like ancient cured stuff. I’m sorry. I know I am giving New Yorkers a bad name by writing this. But I need my baby arugula and my fresh broccoli rabe. I need salad dressing made with virgin olive oil. Even my CORNER DINER has that!

I now feel I am in a life-threatening situation is there isn’t a Korean Deli within a 4-block radius. I get existentialist angst if I’m not surrounded by people. I don’t want to talk to them. But I need to know they are there.
I grew up in the suburbs, but now I find them like creepy now. There is this weird thing I wish someone would explain to me. When a city person moves to the suburbs, it’s OK for them to say all sorts of horrible things about the city, but the city people are not ALLOWED to knock the burbs. “Isn’t this great. There is so much space!” they’ll say. And, “This is horrible. There is so much space,” I’ll think. But there is a rule that I can’t say it. You have to admire their big closets and freezers in the basement and never say, “I’d rather shoot myself than live here,” even though you are thinking it. Is it because they are convincing themselves that they love it, and you have to go along with it too?

City people are not allowed to say how much they love the city except to other city people. I do it all the time. Yes, Cranky loves something. CRANKY LOVES THE CITY. I was recently with a friend downtown. We ate in a little place in Chinatown. We went to a film showing in a loft. The city looked beautiful. We were about to cross the street and she looked at me and said, “Man, don’t you LOVE the city?” Yeah I do. And I can EAT HERE AND EVERYTHING. So, hello!! If you are reading this and living in a place where you can’t buy a cappuccino or an antique – GET THE FUCK OUTTA THERE!

1 Response to “No Country For Good Food”

  1. 1 Giulia March 9, 2009 at 2:29 am

    God, I agreee with so much about your article, especially when you go to the country and you are supposed to find good, charming or cute things that in the city you wouldn’t even touch with a long stick…

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March 2009

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