16 August 2010

Where Should We Have Our Dinner?


As Open Rice has become more popular, many of us seem quite hard to resist the temptation to label themselves as professional food critics. Unfortunately, the truth is often hard-won treasure. On closer examination, we may realise that their sole criterion for what constitutes a good restaurant is based on what two more popular and important food critics in the media favour. From a distance, one of them makes no resemblance of what a traditional female would look like, as if suffering from the common symptoms of feminism, and likes to derive pleasure from scolding people. The other, on the other hand, conspires to offer some sort of intellectual charisma, favours traditional dishes rather than the fusion ones, and tends to exhibit knowledge of the culture of where the dishes originally come from. Though his signature handbag seems to minister the quality of vegetarianism, many who read his works and watch his shows can testify that his true self suggests the exact opposite.

Hence the identity of food critics suffers a lack of a sense of authority. Rather than ranking a wide range of restaurants according to a subjective hierarchy of taste, many of these self-labelled food critics sacrifice their free will and surrender to tyranny. Which in result forcefully downgrading the quality of those inherently good restaurants. Our eating according to their ideals also suggests that we neglect our own preferences of what good food is and willingly to be deluded by the fact that what we are eating must be of culinary delight. How easily our unaided minds might be seduced to surrender to the objective judgement of what are good and bad.

If we are easily tempted to like restaurants, it is perhaps because they are able to offer what home-made meals precisely lack- customer service, the grand displays of the dishes, the kinds of interior of decorations which inspire the feeling of awe, and perhaps a live band. Restaurants, therefore, harbour a sense of perfection, fooling us into thinking that utopia might be just within our grasp.

However, that's precisely the danger of going to restaurants because they are likely to enforce moments of distractions. Instead of salivating to respond to what the chefs offer, our moods of happiness are wedded to the table settings, the exquisite interior decorations, and what music the live bands offer. How easily the efforts of the chefs who collapse their delicate and complex feelings into a set dinner can be undermined by what anchors to their creativity in the first place.

This then brings to us the significance of dinning at home and our habit of dinning. If there is something intrinsically more valuable in dinning at home rather than dinning out, it is because what we eat often provides a far more accurate account of who we really are. Our love for, say, steak not merely hints at our willingness of vegetable self-sacrifice and unhealthy diets, it might also accede to the symbolic meaning of, perhaps, our inability to empathize or our distaste for natural environment, depending on what our analytical inclinations may be. If we consider food in a psychological light, we may then unearth the inevitable link between food and personality.

But what does that mean? What does it have to do with dinning at home? It's because only through our subjective evaluation of what good food is, we might know ourselves better. The process of eating is also a process of soul-searching. It provokes our philosophical sentiments as a means of self-understanding. If dinning at home has something to do with the analysis of the self, it is because home-made meals are endowed with self-love. We only cook meals based on our own criterion of what is good. The merits of home-made meals lie in a sense of belonging, not only to ourselves, but also to the reality, because it always runs contrary to utopianism (which restaurants are often assumed to suggest) and offers us a sense of imperfection. It drifts us away from delusion and urges us to focus on what is real.

What's more is that we like to dine with our loved ones. If restaurants tend to distract us like the internet, then it merely means we are unlikely to address what really matters in life, things that we often talk about in an intimate friendship such as "What is your dream?" or "What might love mean to you?". Dinning at home mitigates the probability of being distracted and recovers a sense of intimacy. It strengthens the bonding of all kinds of loving relationship.

Many kids now favour fast food. And equally, adults tend to celebrate their reunion in restaurants. Not only the value of supper has been largely neglected, what proper environment we should dine in has also been largely devalued. Only after we revive the value of home-made meals, dinners will never be the same again.

W

1 comment:

  1. "Our love for, say, steak not merely hints at our willingness of vegetable self-sacrifice and unhealthy diets, it might also accede to the symbolic meaning of, perhaps, our inability to empathize or our distaste for natural environment, depending on what our analytical inclinations may be."

    Yes, I agree.

    ReplyDelete

Commenting is sexy...or you may want to tweet us and like us in Facebook!