My mouth was watering as I bit into the hot and steamy McChicken and its wonderful flavors poured into my mouth. My hunger pangs had finally been relieved, thanks to this cheap and delicious mini burger, of which I had ordered two. Upon the first bite, memories of the past had twirled back into the forefront of my conscious, memories of my high school days when I would go to McDonalds with my friends during lunch.
I was sitting on the curb with my friends enjoying a juicy McChicken, right outside of McDonalds. It was around 1 AM, and we were having a late night snack on our way back from an anime convention to my brother’s condo, where we were staying. As we were enjoying our meals, a battered-looking man in ragged clothes stumbled in front of us, obviously intoxicated. He stood in front of us and started saying random things to my friend. He was saying mostly nonsensical things, although I heard something about “Zelda.” One of my friends offered him his sandwich, but he still wouldn’t leave us. As soon as he mentioned the word “kill,” I started to freak out a little. One of my friends slowly got up off the curb and went inside to get security, and in a few moments security warded off the drunk guy. It was a scary experience while it was happening, but immediately after it had passed we were laughing about it for the rest of the night.
Each time I bite into a McChicken, I am reminded of the strong bond I have created with my friends and how important they are to my life.
In the myth of Momotaro, the millet dumplings (kibidango) that Momotaro carry with him during his journey to defeat the ogres are an example of a mythical food. This mythical food helps him on his journey to Oni island, as it gives him confidence and power to defeat the ogres of Oni island. It also allows him to gain the allegiance of a dog, a monkey, and a pheasant, who become his followers after they each eat half of a millet dumpling. These millet dumplings can also be seen as a sort of propagandistic food, subtly suggesting the superiority of Japan. Momotaro and the millet dumplings represent Japan, and the dog, the monkey, and the pheasant are less developed and less civilized creatures than humans. Since Momotaro successfully gains the allegiance of these less civilized animals, the story suggests that Japan is a superior nation and would win over the less civilized nations. Japan’s nationalism is conveyed through these millet dumplings.
There are many types of mythical foods like the millet dumplings that have been popularized due to a popular myth. For example, pumpkins have become very popular in America because of several myths. Most of the folklore concerning pumpkins has to do with pumpkins and the supernatural, such as witches turning people into pumpkins. Carving pumpkins into Jack-O-Lanterns during Halloween has also become an important tradition for warding off demons, rooting from an old tale about Jack and the devil. There are several different versions of the legend of the Jack-O’-Lantern, but all have to do with Jack trying to trick the Devil. The Pumpkin is the subject of a vast amount of folklore and is Halloween’s representative food item, used to make several dishes such as pumpkin pie.
Today I went to water the garden around 4:00. Everything seems to be doing well, especially the radishes, but the plants on the left side are a little droopy and yellowish.
In The Gourmet Club, Tanizaki describes “magical food” as being food that stimulates all the senses of the human body, not merely the taste buds. This “gastronomical magic” absorbs your whole self into the act of eating, utilizing every one of your senses. While eating this magical food, people do not use merely their tongues. When the members of the Gourmet Club eat Count G’s special food, they “taste it with their eyes, their noses, their ears, and at times with their skin. At risk of exaggerating, every part of them had to become a tongue”(Tanizaki, The Gourmet Club). Magical food stimulates all the senses so that it is as if your whole body tastes the food. Your whole body participates in the act of eating, making it a wholesome and satisfying experience.
In The Gourmet Club, one example of magical food is when the room is made pitch dark and the club members experience the whole meal in total darkness. By getting rid of light, all the other senses are strengthened. Thus, all the senses, excluding sight, took part in the meal, and what felt like a woman’s fingers magically transformed into delicious cabbage. Food that appeals to all of our senses results in the most satisfying of meals.
Count G finds magic and pleasure in this Chinese cuisine. However, people in China who are familiar with this food would probably not get the same sense of pleasure. Perhaps their magical food is the Japanese food that Count G has gotten so bored of. Thus, this sense of exoticism that you get when you eat foreign food can contribute to the sense of magic. Tasting new and exotic things can help to elicit magical sensations.
A “foodie,” a term coined by Paul Levy, is used to refer to food lovers, people who are obsessed with food and everything about it, ranging from its taste to its preparation to its science. Foodies will engage in such activities as watching food-orientated shows on television, reading food magazines, and of course eating food. Unlike most gourmets, they are amateurs, not professionals with refined taste buds. Foodies just have very deep passions for food and seek to constantly expand their ever-growing knowledge of it.
Fukuoka Masanobu believed in natural farming, or “do-nothing” farming. He did not believe in using technology for farming. Rather, he reasoned that since farming was doing fine before we started “improving” it with technology, there is no need for this technology. Farming through nature, according to him, is the best method.
According to Fukuoka, “Food is life, and life must not step away from nature.” By adding all these extra and artificial items to food, foodies are stepping away from nature and thus stepping away from life. Fukuoka believed in keeping food in its natural state. All the unnecessary add-ons to gourmet dining take the food further and further away from its natural state. For example, while Fukuoka would eat seaweed in its natural state, today’s society tampers with it in all kind of ways, adding extra ingredients and preservatives to it.
Instead of “improving” food with new technology and making it look prettier, Fukuoka believed that we should stay simple and focus on what is really important: the food in its natural state. However, Fukuoka’s stance on this issue does not appear to be shared by the majority. Elaborate dining and tampered-with food is an important part of today’s society, enjoyed by many people. This aspect of society will live on.