What am I turning into?
I remember once an ex-boyfriend whose name now escapes me asked me what my favourite food was. Being one of our first dates, I wanted to appear all Scarlett O'Hara-like and said, "Oh, I don't know. I'm not really interested in food." Now of course, I would wax eloquently of Thai food, with lime leaves, coconut milk ... swoon. Or Indian food with its musky cumin, hot cayenne, oh my God.And oddly enough for some people, one of my favourite foods is salad. It sounds bland, doesn't it? But it isn't. Think of different salads in the summer: exploding tomatoes with balsamc vinegar and fresh basil leaves, gamey feta cheese and plump Kalamata olives, leaf lettuce with raddichio, endive, romaine, leaf lettuce. Oh my. My mouth is watering.
So why is it lately I've only been interested in iceberg lettuce. To me. iceberg lettuce has always represented the blandest of the most blandest food. No disrespect to my many Waspy friends, but it has always reminded me of my university roommate who use to peruse my hummous, tsaziki and black olives in our communal fridge and say to me: "Gee Patra, your food smells." I am sure it did to her as she cooked white pasta casseroles with crushed potato chips as topping. Don't misunderstand, I am not saying one is better than the other. We all grow up with with what we grow up with. I grew up with a father -- a fiery, angry, passionate, sometimes drunk but always talented and loving Greek father who would thunder into the garden, amass some zucchini, eggplant (flowers and all) potatoes, come into the kitchen, mix them up with fresh tomatoes and hard mijethra cheese into a weird kind of casserole. Voila, one hour lateer, pure pure heaven.
What is iceberg lettuce to me? Water. No taste. Expensive. Then why am I craving it? Am I becoming - gasp - suburban? I realise that sounds so condescending coming from a hipster that lives on the cusp of the Plateau/Village. Does it get any more urban hip? As I was reading an article about John Cheever, this passage jumped out at me; "My God, the suburbs. They encircled the city's boundaries like enemy territory, and we thought of them as loss of privacy, a cesspool of conformity and a life of indescribable dreariness in some split level village where the place-name appeared in the New York Times only when some bored housewife blew heer head off with a shotgun."
I know tonight I will make a salad with iceberg lettuce, olive oil, purple onion and sea salt and sit in my backyard with a glass of lovely priced Fuzion (or 5) as I ponder my surburban longings. And desire to be John Cheever.