One reason is the coffee table book I plan to write entitled “Portlanders Behaving Badly.” This book will feature pictures of all the hideous, weird-ass Portlanders, and all the nonsensical (and occasionally interesting) things they do and wear. As technology has progressed, capturing everyday shameful moments has grown far more convenient- thank you Steve Jobs.
Another reason I carry a camera is because I love nature, and often nature’s most spectacular moments are candid and unrehearsed.
But, the honest-to-Lucifer truth is that I most of all carry a camera for the sake of taking pictures of… food. I love food. Moreover, I appreciate the visual dynamic of food as well. Yes, you know you’re a fatty when you want to experience your food with your eyes and your mouth, and then relive the moment through pictures (I’m still reliving mouth orgasms of meals past from months ago). There is something about capturing the pallet’s perspective on camera that affords you the ability to relive each bite over and over.
Not everyone shares my core food values. When I realize someone is ambivalent to food, it is like a neon sign saying, “this relationship is going nowhere”. The love of all-things-food is not meant to be a one-man show. Similar to sex, working out, and various other activities, eating is not a spectator’s sport. I’m pretty sure if your workout buddy just pulled a chair up next to your treadmill while you were sweating away, it would bother you. What can I say? I am equally horrified when I am prepared to eat a spread suited for royalty, and the person I am dining with orders merely a side salad and water. Unless you are going to die from anaphylactic shock because of a food allergy, or have a legitimate health reason, if you’re in my presence you better order something with flavor, something that won’t make your taste buds contemplate suicide. Interestingly enough, the very idea of “breaking bread together” goes back to biblical times. Now, out of all the knowledge divinely chosen to be dropped in the Bible, it is no coincidence that the inspired Word groups together shoving food in our faces, gratitude, and good company. Clearly this is further support for my belief that food consumption can (and should) be a sacred experience. An experience definitely not meant to be taken lightly, or enjoyed alone.
I had never noticed the extent of my food obsession until just recently when I scrolled through the memory card of my camera. I couldn’t believe it! The majority of my pictures were of food, and not of my wonderful friends and family. I guess out of the abundance of the heart, the camera clicks??
Over the years I have managed to find friends who share my need to feed, and also appreciate the desire to consume their body weight in decadent goodness in one sitting. One such person is my friend, Stacye. Stacye and I lovingly refer to each other as our Tapeworm-Twin. This is because neither one of us has an appetite that is ever truly satisfied, each of us are capable of consuming 7000 calories at any given meal, and somehow do so without seeing significant ramifications in our waistlines. Stacye and I first bonded over the 2010 holiday season as we stuffed ourselves to the point of being incapacitated. This is a phenomenon we refer to as a “food coma” (food coma: the state in which you literally have to shut-down so your body can process the tidal wave of food you have consumed). I’m sure it is a blessing in disguise that Stacye and I live in different cities. If we were closer together, I’m sure we’d be on the freeway to heart disease. Our food-affair is mostly a long distance one, reduced to the equivalent of a sexting relationship. But instead of texting explicit photos to lust over, we text pics of amazing food for the purpose of inducing stomach envy (equally pleasing). I’m not sure how this works physiologically, but I can assure you that when Stacye sends me a picture of a slab of baby cow soaked in a balsamic blue cheese wine sauce, my stomach is aroused.
My need to only partake in social events involving food has become rather apparent. Like anyone dedicated to his or her hobby, cause or interest, I take my passion seriously. I’ve decided that there is no sense in surrounding myself with people who don’t appreciate fabulous food as much as I do. This isn’t a hard concept… like-minded people are naturally going to be drawn to one another (birds of a feather).
Luckily I have a hearty list of like-stomached friends. I make it a point to never become close friends with anyone watching their weight, or with the slightest signs of anorexia. Bulimia is fine, because I know that person will at least partake in the feasting. If they choose to blow chunks in the parking lot, I am more than happy to turn a blind eye. I can’t have someone’s good sense shaming me while I’m eating a quantity of food that would feed a third world country. Making friends with a food-conscious person is like trying to get to third base with a cactus- it’s probably not worth the trouble.
Of course, this is not always the case. I have friends who I love and enjoy spending time with, who are content to nibble like rabbits on field greens, and care more about their calorie intake than feeding their tapeworm. While I care about these friends, I definitely relegate them to non-food interactions or to visits for a snack in between meals.
The pictures don’t lie. According to my camera, my tapeworm has been feasting regularly at three fine establishments in the last few weeks. Here are just a few of the photos from my most recent camera download (try to keep your lust under control):
The Rusty Grape Vineyards quickly became one of my favorite places to go this past year. Not only do they have fabulous wine and great food (with an ever changing variety of specials & events), but they have the greatest staff around. I would highly suggest making the trek to Battle Ground, WA and experiencing the people, wine and food at the Rusty Grape. http://rustygrape.com/
Another place I added to my regular rotation this past year is La Bottega http://www.labottegafoods.com/
Any place that has Gorgonzola Cheese Cake on their menu is going to be a chart topper for me.
Piazza Italia is also a place my tapeworm likes to graze. It is near impossible to just walk in and get a table, so I would suggest making reservations or not to going without a food-survival kit to hold you over. http://www.piazzaportland.com/
Chilaquiles and Carne Asada - you can't go wrong with either.
If you are ever around the Ballard neighborhood in Seattle, check out the Señor Moose Cafe!