If you do the math, factoring in meals (accounting for both regular and skipped), surreptitious snacking, late-night burritos, early morning ice cream, steamed vegetables followed by Pepperoni Hot Pockets, Friday night beers, Sunday morning bloody marys – and the occasional, perfectly toothsome, freshly microwaved (yes, MICROWAVED) piece of bacon served with a small tumbler of bourbon – in this life, you’ll find occasion to eat and drink somewhere in the neighborhood of 83,000 times.
It doesn’t seem like a lot, for something that you do roughly three times a day. It almost seems like it should be more. And for those of you living a life of caloric and carnivorous restraint, it will be more. Or maybe, without the warm embrace of pork fat and booze, it will just feel like more.
For some of us, though, the counter ticks down, and we remember days and numbers past – a mother’s snickerdoodle, pillowly and warm; a picnic table lined with potato salad, homemade pickles and bratwurst made by the cousin you resent but whose sausages you can’t resist; slurping aromatic pho out of ancient metal bowls on a bench while backpacking through Vietnam; cheap wine, mediocre cheese, stale crackers and an old, scratched copy of “Annie Hall” on a Tuesday night with someone who doesn’t mind seeing you naked on a regular basis.
I’m not saying every bite and every sip needs to be gauzily lit with fireworks or Proustian candlelight. The important thing is we remember that they can be. Even alone, meals can be something more than ordinary more often than we think. We can strive to share them with people who believe the same – and in those moments, enjoy ourselves and stop counting, if only for a little bit.
My name is Theo.
I like food.
I hope you do, too.