It’s good, actually, that there are so few visitor parking spots in our city’s North End, especially on a cool, beautiful night like tonight, when the sky is clear, the wind crisp, a bit salty. We parked our car quite far from Hanover Street and walked for a good half hour on Causeway to our destination, where we had to wait in line for another forty minutes for a tiny table at Giacomo’s crowded room. The walk to Hanover was all anticipation for the delectable offerings awaiting us, but it was the return to our car–long, langurous and transiently guilt-ridden–that stole the night and sealed its beauty. The taste of the seafood, the sound of the conversation and laughter, the clacking of cooking utensils and the wild dance of the flame behind the counter–all of it flickering images now that we were away from it all, and in this quiet stretch of a park, overlooking the waters roiling and turning, by turns catching the sparks of light, by turns folding them in their sways. But most of all, it was the beauty of the scene, its simplicity, viewed from a distance, separated as we were by fence and land and hesitation.
Alexander Cockburn, in his Corruptions of Empire, has written wickedly about “food porn.” It’s a fantastic, prescient essay, prophetic even. It’s also an instructive essay in what it has taught me about talking about food: cook your food with attention to detail, serve it with lightness and joy to persons you really care for, to those you love. If you’re eating out, choose carefully because there are very few really good restaurants any more, don’t stuff yourself just because you’re paying for the darn thing, talk to the persons sitting next to you if they are receptive, partake in their joy, taste their fried calamari and offer them your broiled ones.
Pay, give a good tip, and when you are done with your “food experience,” don’t talk about it, don’t write about it ad neauseum. Don’t be complicit in the obscenity. Instead, walk into the night. And just because you had a good meal, don’t be greedy and walk down the street to the pastry shop and eat some more–even if it is Mike’s or the Modern Bakery on Hanover about which the world has written many, many posts and comparisons. If you can, know satiation if you are satiated (there is satiation and there is fullness) which is hard in this day and age or manufactured desire, desire which multiplies itself and has no point of statis or resolution or conclusion.
So, we walk down Hanover, past the two world-renowned bakeries (I know, I know, I am being self-serving and self-righteous and a tad bit snobbish…), down to the water, sensate to all the stimuli of the evening–but most of all to the scene unfolding in front of our eyes.
[Photos: Tamar Salibian]