After my last week’s struggle with a “favourites” list, I had decided to give lists a pause. Or rather my inability to actually list anything.
I’ve been drowning since yesterday in ornate descriptions of improbable food, as I’’ve just launched myself on the translation of the 2015/2016 edition of a guidebook to restaurants in Rome. These painstaking translations are from a baroque whirly curly style in Italian – surprising the many original ways there are of conveying the taste of what’s after all just cooked food! These translations are a nice break from having to put equipment descriptions, financial statements, marketing presentations, management policies, freshly minted laws and the like into appropriate shape and style in the language of Shakespeare.
The menus of these restaurants are varied, and range from traditional to fusion to creative to beyond one’s imagination. Though my editor would kill me, some sound like they could be yukky. The last time I worked on a similar project, I developed a touch of tummy acid. Apparently if you think hard enough about food, your brain creates the real thing for you and there you are: you’ve fooled your body into thinking it’s going to partake of the cuisine in your thought-bubble, and the tummy juices start flowing though the shift’s on neutral.
And when you have to translate tastes and aromas you have to absolutely think and sink into them with all your senses if you want your English language food to sound, feel smell and look like the original in your readers’ imaginations, and presumably also lure them to the restaurant.
So right now I’m totally into food, and being lazy I thought I’d take advantage and tackle the “what’s my favorite food?” question while I’m at it. I’ll start by saying pasta is great, but it’s not my favorite food. Were you expecting that? However, inasmuch as many cultural aspects of my present host country continue to rile, I’ve come to realize I’ve finally really blended (pun) on a fundamental level, because I acknowledge and understand why there just have to be such infinite varieties of pasta. I know-feel which are appropriate for which type of sauces – and what matches are absolutely barbaric. I can even cook pasta to the very second it’s perfect texture! Most times anyway. Which doesn’t mean that in the privacy of one’s home, one isn’t free to do as one wants, free to disregard propriety, like by putting the pasta on the same plate to accompany the meat or fish & veggies. Local foodies please don’t faint!
But I’m a coherent person, and my favorite foods are in harmony with my previous so-called list of favorite cities. Because my favorite dishes are the ones found elsewhere, the ones I don’t get many chances to eat where I am. Once again the greener grass syndrome: food of other countries. As we’re global, most foods are ubiquitous, though often at appetite-dampening prices, but more importantly, they seem to never taste quite right out of context.
So this is my very short-list: I admit to missing Thanksgiving turkey with all the frills, Wien pastries, Paris oysters, Swiss rösti, Baires empanadas and dunkin doughnuts.
As this blog is supposed to be positive, I’ll wrap up saying there’s nothing more delicious than tagliatelle pasta with lobster in a tomato and parsley sauce with just a hint of garlic, with a super-chilled bottle of wine, to be savored in the shade of a parasol in front of the sparkling blue Mediterranean.
What’s your favorite food?