The characters and events in the following story are fictitious. Like, actually.
By far the best thing about Harry is that he can eat an entire meal with me without saying a word about the food. He can finish off a glass of wine without a word about tannins ever leaving his lips and his food vocabulary consist of things like “delicious”, “yum”, and “soo gooood”. He doesn’t care who the chef is or mind too much if the cow was raised in a barn.
Which is why I continue to leave the door open.
Unlike Paul. Paul, who commented on the temperature of the hollandaise, the texture of the chutney, the tenderness of the heirloom tomatoes. Each night was the hunt for the most painfully hip restaurant word-of-mouth could find. A hidden gem where so-and-so chef was doing a guest menu, a this-and-that restaurant who’s doing a pop-up-shop for three hours only, and how this cook studied under that chef and used to work at that one Michelin star place which is obviously how he acquired his knack for the Mexican-Thai fusion palette.
How I came to despise his constant interruptions.
Every bite ruined by his unending flood of analysis. I couldn’t lift my fork without Paul insisting that this sauce was his favorite and reminded him of that one he had that one time in that tiny place in France that no one had ever heard of but now is the hugest fucking deal and he just can’t believe how they blew up right after he was there and if only he had written the article while he was traveling because right afterwards so and so ran a piece on it now it’s the biggest fucking deal, and seriously try the sauce, T, you’ll love it.
Being with Paul was exhausting. Oh, at first he was amazing. At first I followed him around like a hungry puppy. Because I love food, I really do. And he always new the best places, and the truth is that I never ate so much good food in my life as I did in those eight gluttonous months.
What I didn’t realize at first, though, what all came to light in due course, was that Paul didn’t even like food.
No foodie actually likes food. Paul liked knowing things other people didn’t know, he liked being there first, knowing the names and one-upping other people’s taste buds. It slowly all came out. While I was trying to actually taste this amazing rigatoni I had a limited vocabulary to express, worshipping it’s unfathomable deliciousness no words could describe, he would be across the table poisoning my pasta with his petty tales of who-who and what’s-what.
So that’s why Harry is still around. Because he lets me listen to myself eat.