Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Perfect Food

Food is my friend. Just about any food. Eat to live; don’t live to eat. Devour vast quantities of it and ask questions about it later.

No wonder I’m a tub of lard.

Nevertheless, I do have my standards. If it still looks like what it did when it was alive, I’m not interested in it. Chicken is great if it doesn’t look like it was a chicken. You know those slow-roasted whole birds at the super market? I’m not interested.

And if it used to swim, well, that’s a strike against it, too. Unless it’s tuna.

Lobster? Fails on all counts.

Food also must be low-maintenance. If I have to work at it to eat it, it’s generally not worth it. Shelling pistachios verses grabbing an armful of peanuts — you get the idea.

And there is such a thing as a perfect food. Oh, yes, there is ... as long as I get to define what “perfect” means.

Actually, there are several criteria that can qualify a food as perfect. One is variety in each byte. Extra points for including all four food groups in each byte. A slice of peperoni pizza is about as perfect as you can get: meat, cheese, vegetables, and bread in every mouthful. (What? If ketchup is a vegetable, so is pizza sauce!)

Chicken pot pie makes the list for much the same reason. Who knows what all those vegetables are in there. Who cares? As soon as the fork punctures the top crust and that sweet steam fills my nostrils, I’m in Heaven. Yeah, maybe steam should be one of the major food groups.

Even if the food is homogenous, anything that enhances its variety helps. Plain vanilla or chocolate ice cream? Pshaw! Ice cream is merely a vehicle of other food; it must have “stuff” put in it. Rocky road. Butter brickle. Rocky butter brickle road! It’s all good!

Another feature of “perfect” food is how much of it is “left over” when I’m done with it? How clean can I get my plate. As good as it is, biscuits and gravy fails on this score. It’s almost impossible to achieve the perfect biscuit-to-gravy ratio. But that never stopped me from trying.

The winner in the how-much-is-left-over category must go to the ice cream cone. Eat the sweet stuff, then eat the container! Wipe your mouth, and carry on with your life. Perfection! (Remember Sammy Davis, Jr. singing that “you can even eat the dishes”!)

I realize I’ve probably stepped on a few toes. You probably have your own ideas about what constitutes a “perfect” food. You may be in the camp that says the preparation experience is worth as much as the food itself.

Yeah, while you’re chopping your onions, I will have already microwaved a chicken pot pie and downed an ice cream cone.

Save the last slice of pizza for me. It’s for breakfast.

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