Dear Mr. Gold: Dinner without a face
On Saturday I attended an intimate luncheon where a common theme was our mutual love of good food. One of the guests announced that she was no longer eating anything with a face. While I greatly respect people's choices to modify their diets based on health, politics, etc., I thought, why does someone need to announce this at the table? Isn't this like "I speak French" or "I go to the gym every day?" What are your thoughts on this (btw, I eat everything).
Julie Brosterman, via Facebook
Dear Ms. Brosterman:
I've been to those dinner parties! And as you may imagine, I have been on the other end of that "anything with a face'' statement many, many times. (I'm not sure where it comes from, actually -– a cursory Google search turns up Courtney Stodden, David Hasselhoff and Princess Daisy from the "Super Mario Bros." movie although I'm pretty sure it predates all of them.)
And it's hard to tell where the bright line between face/no face might be: It's not as if the people dropping the bombshell tend to do so while nibbling on jellyfish salad or even cracking open an oyster, a faceless, insensate, non-polluting animal that even animal-rights philosopher Peter Singer once said was OK to eat, although I believe he's since reconsidered. When it comes to preparing soft-shell crabs, which require the cook to snip the faces off the living crustaceans with a sharp pair of kitchen scissors, I can even see your friend's point.
Still, as dismaying as the assertion may be, it is relevant at table, where dinner is presumably being discussed. If you wish to express your displeasure by ordering the tete de veau -- well, I raise my hat to you.
-- Jonathan Gold
Photo credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times.