fucking glorious

We keep talking about the food. I mean, the conversation
touches on my favorite spot in Central Park, and the greenhouse in the Met, and
walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and this one little bar in the Village that
had the craziest bartender who is probably dead by now, but it keeps circling
all the way back around to the acres and acres of food that must be consumed,
as if it were our destiny, when we visit New York.

There is, first and holiest, the pastrami sandwich. On rye. With mustard, holy
fuck. You can’t get that in San Francisco.
You cannot. Then you’ve got the sacred bialy, the blessed bagel, the dirty
water dog that is oh-so-right in its oh-so-wrongness. The vendor pretzel, a
crapshoot in its freshness, but perfect to gnaw on as you walk across the park
and up the stairs of the Natural History Museum. Oh my God, the lox bagel at
Barney Greengrass, and your subsequent hope that you will get hit by a bus
because nothing will ever top that moment you first put it in your mouth.
You’ve got your breakfast at Balthazar with the basket of beautiful pastries that you’d give up your family to the terrorists for, and then the pizza, which actually reaches, in holiness, the great heights of the pastrami
sandwich. Did I talk about the dinners we’re going to have? One of them at my
brother-the-pastry-chef’s restaurant, oh
my God!
we keep saying to each other. We keep talking about the food.

Before eight months ago I wouldn’t have thought, really,
about the way I wanted to eat my way across the island, my mouth a gaping maw
and all of Manhattan crawling
inside it to sacrifice itself to my ravenous belly. Which is a pretty, pretty
picture. It would have remained the
highlight of my trip, this excitement about the food, and I would have been
content to work myself from meal to meal, and sort of shove sight-seeing into
the cracks between hoagies and danishes. Now, I’m–still wanting to eat my way
across the island, and it worries the fuck out of me.

Part of the whole point of this surgery, the whole entire point, was to free myself
from thinking about food and worrying about food and panicking about when the
next time I could eat would be. I didn’t think it would cure me of hunger and
cravings and having a fucked-up relationship with food. Well, I hoped it would.
Come on–who wouldn’t secretly, in their secretest secret parts full of secrets
hope surgery would cut out all the bad, and only leave the good and glorious?
Only liars, that’s who. But I knew, I
really did, that it wouldn’t be a cure, and I was okay with that.

Mostly, what I do is not think about vitamins and working
out and being Super! Awesome! Healthy! I do that, sure. But where all the hard
work comes in, all the effort and attention and pain and suffering when there
is pain and suffering, oh woe, is work on being okay with food, work on
developing my relationship with food into something cordial and pleasant, and
not adversarial. Work on trying to be Good Choices Girl, the Girl Who Makes
Good Choices.

It is generally something that, well, works. This tiny
stomach of mine doesn’t often get hungry, and I have gotten rid of the crap in
my house and I’ve learned to avoid the near occasions of work socializing in
the break room around a table full of cake, and even when faced with a table
full of cake–I have been surprised to not have been overcome by an uncontrollable
face-planting episode. Bingo! I am cured! Except for the days when I am not
cured, and I want a donut hole and would not only give my family up to the
terrorists, but pay for them to be taken away, if only to have sweet glazed
dough melting down my chin. But those days, they don’t come around much.

Until now. With the pastrami. And the rye. And the pizza and hot dogs and this
one little place in the Village with the best fucking yakisoba on the planet
and holy crap, I might die if I do not have a knish right this instant. And none of it is really anything I can eat, and that is the worst part.

I am hoping this food-thinking, this wanting to eat, this
slightly weird fetishizing of the things we will put in our faces, is just
because it is a trip back to a place I haven’t been in years, a chance to show
someone who has never been to New York, and who is, so very very wrongly,
deeply skeptical about the superiority of New York pizzas and the great
gloriousness of the New York bagel, emperor of food stuff and giver of all that
is good to your mouth. Maybe it’s because it is stuff I haven’t had in so long,
and stuff I will not have again in so long, because you can’t really bring any
of it home. I’ve become jaded about San Francisco’s burritos and superior
sushi; if I were coming home for the first time in four years, would I be
slavering about El Farolito and oh my fucking God, the Vietnamese food, and having to take you
to this Indian place on Ninth and Judah? I think probably I would.

I hope probably I would. The alternative is not something I
want to think about.

  10 comments for “fucking glorious

  1. June 20, 2007 at 11:26 am

    wow….where is my credit card? i must book a flight to NY asap.

    i stumbled here from somewhere….and i believe its just a temporary episode….the love affair with food is hard to break. food is delicious…and eating it can often compare to a minor orgasm….so i imgaine “letting go” is an ongoing process.

    now…i wonder if i can stumble across some progress pics around here…..hmmmmm…..

  2. June 20, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    Progress pics are coming, actually!

    And thanks for reminding me that it’s a process.

  3. anon
    June 20, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    Ah. Yes. Ahem. Well.

    I’m no help because I live in NYC. And I struggle with food. But not every day. Sometimes it’s easy. So fuckin’ easy that I can’t believe it! Oh yes, I am cured, halle-freakin’-lujah!

    And then other days I weep, yes, weep, for the food I cannot, or at least should not, eat. So I commiserate. That’s the best I can offer ya today, kid.

    And, why yes, we DO have the best damn food ever, and Guy will DIE when he eats our pizza and bagels, and I mean die in a good way, in a way that says, We must never return to San Francisco, Anne, because fabulous city though it is, it does not have THIS STUFF. Praise this stuff. Amen.

  4. A.
    June 20, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    I just finished telling my sister about all the pizza I am going to eat when I go home to visit our parents next month.
    It’s not just New York, and it’s not just you either!
    Good luck and have a safe trip.

  5. June 20, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    Ok, deep breath.

    Even with a DS, you do not have to give up the foodie goodness that is NYC. You will necessarily be limited in the amounts you consume, but you should not stress over what you are consuming. You are allowed, nay, encouraged to eat a variety of foods. Some of the foods you mentioned (pastrami, lox) are high protein. Others (bialy, pastries) are high carb, and you’ll probably want to limit yourself to a few bites. But here’s the thing – you’ll find that once you’ve had your protein and you have some of that pastry, you’ll be satisfied with a few bites. It’s a psychological thing – you’re ALLOWED to have a few bites. It’s not FORBIDDEN. It’s not an all or nothing deal. Eat some, guilt free, and no flagellation afterward, ok? You’ll find that your DS will still work, you’ll feel better about yourself, and that by allowing yourself to indulge some, you’ll be more relaxed on your trip.

    Plus, you’ll probably be walking your tuckus off in NYC. Unless you have a hard time with any particular foods, don’t avoid anything. Just eat your protein first and save the treats for afterwards. Eggs before pastries. Meat before potatoes.

    Eating in NYC is a cultural experience. It is as valid a sight-seeing exercise as visiting the WTC ruins or going to the Empire State building.

  6. June 20, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    Lately I’ve been thinking constantly of these fried glazed croissants that I can only find at a donutshop near my old hometown in Missouri, as well as an amazing seven layer salad with cream cheese (& a million calories) and WHITE CASTLE double cheese burgers which are a staple of the diet of all Missourians :). I doubt that if I could magically transport myself the 1600 miles back to my hometown the food would taste nearly as good as I imagine it. It’s more that I associate those foods with some of my best memories of home and I’m just feeling a bit homesick. Food really can be a very strong connection to the places you love. I have a russian acquaintance who moved here a few years ago and she told me she couldn’t really feel like she belonged here until she was able to find a store that sold a certain kind of chocolate that she used to love to eat in Russia. Food can be very powerful.

  7. June 20, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    so, i know this isn’t the point, but where in san francisco can i find good pizza? i mean REALLY good pizza … not california pizza with cauliflower and barbecued monkfish or any of that crap.

  8. June 20, 2007 at 11:32 pm

    Are you feeling homesick? Are you trying to stuff all of home inside of you to bring back with you? Or do you just like fucking Pastrami on Rye?

  9. June 21, 2007 at 11:12 am

    Lotta: No, San Francisco is home, now. I think probably I just really like pastrami. Like, REALLY like it.

    And kelly, I will be damned if I know. I have had reasonable pizza at Delfina, in the Mission. Otherwise, I just deal. Heavy sigh.

  10. June 22, 2007 at 12:29 am

    I understand. I get that way myself when I’m around Pad Thai.

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