I read an article yesterday interviewing a lady I admire very much who works for a fashion house I admire even more. But underneath her photo was the caption,” I’d rather have cheap food than cheap shoes.” I really don’t know how I feel about that.
I’m a huge proponent of the idea that food that is ‘cheap’ can also be food that is ‘good’. I’ve had fantastic meals for very little amounts all around the world, and some of that food has been in London. I’ve felt that this is an idea that I’ve found more during my time in the UK. Quality ingredients means quality food, which means spending a bit more and that’s certainly something I can agree with. Going out for a meal is more of an event on this side of the world than it is in Asia. But food that is cooked with heart, food that evokes a response, food that is memorable is not necessarily expensive food and in that maybe the above statement isn’t so objectionable. I’ve certainly bought a lot of cheap shoes and my feet have not thanked me for it.
On the other hand, the idea of sacrificing food for shoes definitely gave me pause and I’ve eaten my share of canned tuna to afford beautiful things before. And here’s why: I can look back at meals that I’ve shared, cheap or expensive and good or bad, and remember a whole host of people and places and things just by association. A mouthful of the marinated sake chicken at Sake no Hana brought me back to eating yakitori in Japan. A steaming spoonful of congee in Chinatown reminds me of being home and being looked after. I’ve never once looked at a pair of my shoes and thought fondly of a night out on the town with my girlfriends. Food is so closely associated with so many of memories, I can’t even go back to the period in my life where I’d go without to earn something else.
Here are some food memories… sadly, the best food memories are rarely if ever documented but always remembered!
Tea with a wonderful friend in her wonderful apartment in Paris with macarons from Pierre Hermé and tea from Mariage Frères. Everything about this girl is fabulous – from her shabby chic studio apartment in Saint-Germain-des-Près, her amazing style and her collection of Assouline books. Now that tea reminds me a crazy, whirlwind weekend in Paris in February.
A shared, steaming box of takoyaki with a good friend at the Sunday UpMarket at the Old Truman Brewery on a cold, cold day: one of the first culinary pleasures I experienced in London.
This isn’t a great food picture. You wouldn’t be able to tell that this was a tuna carpaccio, served with shallots and lemongrass and lime, and was absolutely delicious. What I can tell by this ravaged plate is that I was happily chatting away, enjoying myself silly when I remembered,” Shit! I’m meant to be a food blogger! I have to take pictures, or something!” This was from a dinner with my cousins. We look the same, we eat the same, and we have the same sick-ass sense of humour.
The Cannes film festival. Fruits de mer with an editor, a reporter, a fashion journo and my dad. I still dream about the fines de claire.
I have such an obsession for plastic food. It is so genius. I want to go to plastic food shops and start a plastic food collection. My grandfather took us to this great restaurant in Tokyo to share some absolutely lipsmacking tonkatsu with us. I opted for the katsudon at top right.
A shared bottle of Veuve Clicquot with my mom, grandfather, sister, aunt and cousin at the MGM’s Clicquot Lounge in Macau. We sat with the architect, who told us about the problems of designing this table-cum-ice-bucket – lighting, condensation, etc. Seriously, when am I going to get crazy creative and invent a table/ice-bucket?
Delicious Madrileno breakfast, shared with my mom and aunt in Madrid. It’s lucky that I can view this entirely apart from its American-resort counterpart, because then I would have to admit that I love the Disneyland version more than life itself.
Okay so it’s kind of crappy? And you can see where I didn’t QUITE get the pastry into the mould? And that it’s a little burnt? But, hah, my brother wanted more! I win at lemon tart!
My brother is a busy worker bee, so sometimes I don’t get to see him that often. But when I do see him, he takes me for yummy lunches (here at Roka) and even let’s me play with my food.