I’m having writer’s block. Don’t know if that’s true (I once met an Ivy League law school professor who said, as diplomatically as she could, that scientists can’t write), but that’s how my friend put it when I told him that I’ve been sitting around all day producing nothing worth mentioning and munching Vietnamese snacks. As incredibly lazy as that sounds, I think of myself as savoring the cultural assets of my people. (Somehow that sounds even worse…) There’s this Taiwanese movie, Eat Drink Man Woman, I found it a little indelicate and got weirded out (the food looks great though!), but one line from the second sister in the movie stuck in my head: “Dad said that for a person who lives up to 80, he would have consumed 80 tons of food. People who enjoy food and people who eat without savoring it don’t experience the same level of happiness.”
I used to think for sure that what he meant was the people who enjoy food experience more happiness than people who eat without savoring it. But today I thought again.
I’m eating this bánh bía from Tường Ký Fast Food. I can’t help but notice the tiny tiny bits of candied winter melon (mứt bí) in my bánh bía, and I know I like my bánh bía with only taro paste and salted egg yolk, so I’m a bit turned off. When I don’t update Flavor Blvd, I’m happy with teriyaki pork chops from the Chinese family downstairs for weeks. More examples of “ignorance is bliss”: I can’t tell the difference between HDTV and normal TV, so I enjoy any TV with colors. I don’t know shrimps about music, so my friends may think that the drum work of some musician I like is a total fluke, but I still like it all the same. Then again, knowing teas makes me appreciate high-quality teas on a whole different level, and I can still enjoy tea bags with the right company. So I don’t know. The two types of people may not experience the same level of happiness, but that doesn’t mean one level is higher than the other.
Physically speaking, the two types of people probably don’t obtain the same level of energy either. Savoring food means analyzing food. Before I really buckled down and recorded everything I ate, I just ate. Now I think about ingredients. What did they put in there? How did they make it? What could be changed? Why do I prefer my mom’s bánh bao (and Vietnamese bánh bao in general) to jibaozi, family relation aside?
So, food savoring is a brain workout(*), unlikely on the same level as debugging my code, but I think now I have a reply to my mom’s question: “Why can everyone gain weight but you? Eat more!” 😀
Address: Tường Ký Fast Food
8200 Wilcrest Dr., Suite 14
Houston, TX 77072
(*) I typed “how much energy does thinking require” into Google, and the answers seem inconclusive at best, but at least computer work burns 41 calories in 30 minutes for a 125-lb person, and blogging requires computer. Surely more thinking wouldn’t make you gain weight. 😉