Friday, October 3, 2008

Stream of Consciousness – A Departure from Reality

Recently, the UE’s travels have propelled him to beautiful, exotic locations, enticing sunset backgrounds for some of the best, and most disappointing, food in his gastronomic career. The trip, aside from being deeply relaxing and overall pleasant, was a springboard for incredibly deep self reflection. Whether it was peering into the night across a bay while enjoying the greatest mojito of all time, or sampling local cuisine off a cart after just finishing an intensely over-sized and equally flavorful omelet, the UE fell head first into a gushing of self reflection.

And what did he learn? To truly understand this, we must take a step back into the dark recesses of his mind and seek out the fluttering bats of truth hiding from the light

Once upon a time, the UE was a significantly different person. Apathetic to his personal success, indifferent to the influence his words could and do have on those around him, doping and boozing (which still happens on occasion), the Urbane Epicurean was more of a Directionless Jack – successful at everything, passionate for not.

The UE has always had a strong appreciation for quality, in every sense of the word. Growing up, my favorite dish would be the most simplistic ramen dishes my Pacific Island mother would concoct using whatever reasonable ingredients lay around the house. (Hint: add a little egg to the boiling stew of ramen noodles and it will increase your pleasure return ten-fold). Quality friends were always a large focus of mine, but not in the sense of people who are on “successful” track or were born in any specific circle. I enjoyed the people who were genuine, honest, and thought. Potheads, yes. Local juve convicts – wave them in. Hippies currently in school for a masters in tree hugging? All day, everyday. Foods come in all shapes, colors, and backgrounds, and I love them all differently and equally. Are you always in the mood to have pizza? No. Are you always in the mood to see the guys you watch football with? No. But just like breakfast, lunch and dinner, they all have their places and times, and to ignore the importance of balance would almost be a sin to the mantra of a foodist.

Demanding the best is a must. Who enjoys going to a restaurant and having bad service, or a less-than-fresh halibut steak? A good cook aims to do the best job serving his customers while balancing the duties of caring for an army of minions – cooks, dishwashers, runners, etc. He’s not always the nicest, but loyalty to him is always well rewarded. Something could be learned from the Italians about demanding the freshest quality ingredients to create the most amazing dishes. Life is no different.

Quality ingredients make for a quality dish. And if we can all agree that life serves us one dish after another, then why not control the quality of the people you use to season them?

But just because you have exceptional skill at masterminding a Rembrandt on a plate, are you then limited by your exceeding skill to just that? Are we not free beings that should be allowed to make and accept our choices and their consequences?

-The UE

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