Some people regard food simply as sustenance; a nutritional requirement which can sometimes be made tastier by the addition of salt or chocolate. While the quality of what they eat may be important to them, people of this ilk are usually blasé about the latest restaurant opening and keep their home cooking basic.
My mother is such a person (although she sure made a mean potato latka when I was a kid). Monsieur is too. That's not to say that people like them don't like food; they just don't seem to have a strong emotional connection to it. They can take it or leave it. (And the buggers tend to be slim.)
I, on the other hand, have the second kind of relationship with food: The passionate kind. I love it. I love to cook; I love to try new restaurants; I love to hate bad food and I love to share my love of food with other passionate people.
My love is so strong that I have actually been able to file the flavour of certain dishes to memory, which I can recall in my thoughts the way someone with a photographic memory can tell you if the sun was out on October 23rd. Stored in the microfiche of my mind are:
- the lobster galette starter at Les Ambassadeurs in The Crillon Hotel in 2000
- a brilliant bouillabaisse at Restaurant Bacon in Cap d'Antibes in 2002
- the truffle macaroni at Le Petite Maison in London in 2007
- some sourdough toast spread with Bretagne butter and shaved black truffles (I do like my truffles...) made especially for me by the great chef, Christian Constant, at Violon d'Ingres in 2010
Then, in 2012, a meal came along that nearly banished this illustrious list to the bottom of my brain. It was so good; so mind-blowingly amazing; that my mouth is watering and threatening to short circuit my keyboard as I type:
- Chicken Waffles at The Drake Hotel in Toronto
I think it was the utter un-Frenchness of the dish that called to me that day. (I'm pretty sure it can't be found in Paris.) I didn't even know that Chicken Waffles existed, but my bff and hostess that brunch (thank you, Megan!) said that it was fairly common in The States. I checked, and sure enough there's a page in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicken_and_waffles.
And OMG, were they good: Crispy yet tender, savoury yet sweet, all bound together with the tang of sour cherry compote and the refreshing chill of sour cream.
We're eating at Paul Bocuse's famous 3 Michelin starred restaurant near Lyon next week. Entre nous, I'd rather fly back to Toronto for another plate of these.
Style File Followers Take Note:
1. The second kind of relationship with food - my kind - should not be confused with the third kind - the fattening kind - where the person consumes like an indiscriminate vacuum cleaner, sucking up junk-food, small children and anything else that might be deemed edible in their path.
2. Statistically speaking, a large proportion of these people live in the southern States of America, where, according to Wikipedia, the consumption of Chicken Waffles is rife.
3. I don't care if I've shot my foodie cred to hell with this post. I love food. But I love Chicken Waffles more.
4. Your very own plate of Chicken Waffles can be found here: http://www.thedrakehotel.ca