Huge pet peeve of mine when it comes to chow: most people don’t give their food the respect it deserves—they fail to acknowledge its personality. You see, food is kinda insecure. It takes a while to get ready for the evening, to make itself look nice and smell nice. To get itself nice and hot. If it’s a hamburger, this “preparation” time is spent sizzling to perfection, getting nice and greasy and dark on the outside, trying on different buns, making sure it has enough condiments for the night.
If it’s a pizza, it takes a lot of care to apply its mozzarella and herbs so that it when it meets you on your food-date your mouth will water and your eyes will sparkle. And then what do you do? How do you repay your food for all that hard work? You use it and abuse it. Wham bam, thank you Ham. Not cool.
To expand on my point, we’ll run through a typical “food-date.” We’ll start with the hamburger. The two of you meet and right off the bat it seems you were meant for each other, meant to be together. It’s going to be a wonderful evening. “You look so good,” you might say aloud. “You look amazing!”
But then what do you do? You pick up the burger in such a way that, for caveman convenience, you take a bite out of it upside down! As if the thing spent all that time getting ready, making itself look like a perfect, buxom, sizzling hamburger, for its own health! You take another upside down bite and prove once more that you are only here with one thing in mind!
The burger never meant anything to you, did it? It was never more than convenient “meat” to you, was it? You don’t respect it, you don’t take it seriously as a well-presented, perfect specimen of an American hamburger. You won’t acknowledge that it has feelings too, that it would very likely prefer to be consumed the way it was created: right-side up.
On top of that you don’t even look at it as it “goes in.” All you want is sustenance. You shove it down your throat upside down and sideways, you burp like the savage you are, and then you high tail it out of there leaving a couple bucks behind on the table!
And what about pizza? This makes me even more upset! A well-made pizza truly is a beautiful thing to behold. It takes real concentration and skill and love for “good” pizza to make itself presentable. When it shows up to your table it looks so amazing, smells so good, sort of smiling at you with its steaming collage of cheese and tomato sauce, you are momentarily the envy of the entire restaurant. You feel the other diners’ eyes on both you and your food-date—for a moment you feel superior and privileged and popular. For a moment you are Cary Grant on a date.
But then what do you do? How do you repay the pizza for making you a complete man (or woman)? Instead of giving the crucial first slice the respect it deserves, instead of lovingly following it with your eyes as you bring it to your lips, you brutally fold the thing in half and cram it down your savage face!
Okay Ike Turner, what’s up? If taste is all you were after, if you really didn’t care about appearance, then why didn’t you just get a calzone? It’s already folded! It’s already a broken, ugly mess inside. It has no respect for itself! But pizza? Why would you treat pizza so? There’s a reason pizza’s flat and unfolded in the first place: because it’s pizza and that’s how pizza is. It wants to be seen, it wants to be treated gently.
Oh I get it! You like staring at its crust while you indulge, is that it? You don’t want to look at its face? Is that a little too personal for you, you creep? You child!
The lesson here, my eleven readers, is simple: if you’re ever in the Los Angeles area DO NOT let practicallyserious.com catch you eating your burgers upside down, or folding your pizza slices in half. It takes them a lot of time and effort to look good for you, to make you look good, and you need to show them a little respect. You don’t have to talk to them. You don’t have to listen to them. You don’t even have to bring them home with you. But damn, you can at least look them in the eye while you have your way with them!