Dysfunctional Family-style Dining

Via email today at 2:05 p.m., J writes:

I like the Atlantic, mostly because it can be smart and pretentious about just about anything including now ordering Chinese food:

http://www.theatlantic.com/food/archive/2010/07/the-dos-and-dont-of-ordering-chinese/60324/

The money quote for me is here:

Finally, enjoy your food communally. A Chinese meal is a social event meant to break down boundaries, not build them. There’s nothing sadder in a Chinese restaurant than seeing a table where eaters guard their individual portions of beef with broccoli or sweet and sour pork like inmates in the prison mess hall. There’s nothing happier than sitting at a big round table where every diner is eager to try everything. The tea is poured; the waiters cover the table with an array of fragrant, multi-hued dishes; and the chopsticks dart here and there. The lazy Susan revolves as the diners discuss the relative merits of the dishes. A sweet air of contentment settles over all.

Dress it up anyway you like, dude, I’m still not giving you any of my General Tso’s chicken. I notice that his lyrical description of what could be did not include anyone fighting over pea pods or steamed broccoli.

I’ve spoken on this before, but it still rings true. If you want something, order it. If you have food envy, that’s not my problem.

Just lay off my food, OK?
______________________________________________________________________________________________
I write:

Also, something tells me that the “communalism” that he is searching for when dining Chinese, does NOT extend to P.F. Chang’s, which, conveniently serves all of their dishes “family style.”
___________________________________________________________________________________________
J responds:

Family style. That’s so dysfunctional. I can eat a whole “family style” dish on my own and in my family everyone knows to stay away from everyone else’s food.

J is the salty looking boy to Nanna's right.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________
I reply:

!

I enjoy the use of “dysfunctional” with reference to “family style”…very much so.

In my family, my brother used to go around picking food off of people’s plates. He would sidle up next to you and eat what was still there. Luckily, I was a picky eater (probably because of my blasted food allergies) so he could go to town, family style, all over my dinner. In my family, it is well known that I am an extraordinarily slow eater. I’d still be eating when the dishes began getting washed.

I know you’re going to go bananas about this and tell me it’s a sacrilege or something, but I don’t care:

I am finally, FINALLY eating the falafel pita I have been craving for TWO WEEKS. Since before my bike race, and even more intensely thereafters.

If you’re not down with falafel then you’re missing out. It’s the closest dining experience you can get to a burger when you’re a vegetarian without consuming simulated meat. It’s glorious.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________
J questions:

Where did you get a falafel pita?
________________________________________________________________________________________________
I answer:

Maoz Vegetarian, on 12th and Walnut.

By the way, this article is so pretensh I can barely stand it.

“Only barbarians spear their meat with forks; learn how to use chopsticks.”
________________________________________________________________________________________________
J supplies:

Cool.

Speaking of eccentric restaurants, I discovered a Turkish place on my walk today
____________________________________________________________________________________________________
Me quoting The Atlantic article:

“In enjoying a meal, you express not only your tastes but your bonds to the other diners and your connection to the larger, human culture. That’s something to think about the next time your order at any restaurant.”

The whole point of Cake In The Conference Room.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________
J agrees:

Yep. If we can’t make the Salt and Sweet Snack Expo, perhaps we can get placement on Atlantic.com.

I sort of want to go to Comic Con anyway.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Me:

1)      We will.
2)      Is there a way to blend food and comics? I think we should find a way. And graphic artist.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
J:

Anyone in this office who can draw?
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Me:

It also just occurred to me “communal” is a lot like “communism” and this article is about the cuisine of China and The Atlantic is liberal.

Just sayin.
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
(This next part was spoken-or rather shouted over the tops of cubes-between J, E, and myself.)

J: This just occurred to you?! I thought it was obvious. So obvious, in fact, that I didn’t even bother to point it out. Wow, you really fell asleep at the switch on this one.
Me: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. You’re just making a big deal out of this because I called you out for saying “fox reservation” instead of “faux reservation” this morning!
J: Maybe! Maybe!
(I explain to E how J came by my cube and mispronounced “faux.”)
E: Ooooh! When you said “faux” I thought you mean he had a reservation for “pho”…like the Vietnamese food. I found that pretty unlikely, that he would want pho, but he has been trying to expand his palette.
________________________________________________________________________________________________
(The following correspondence is an edit to the original post, which did not include the email conversation below):

I email: New post is up.
______________________________________________________________________________________________________
J writes:

You’re a genius.
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
Me:

I’m only as good as the material I am given to work with.

I almost named the post “Faux Sho’” but that would have…

1)      Been reference something much further at the end of the post and not indicative of the post as a whole, and

2)      Have sort of violated that thing I have about putting an apostrophe to take the place of letters at the end of a word.

So, I didn’t.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________
J replies:

No, your genius is in getting my faux pas about faux into the post, which I think has been your intention all day.
______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Me:

IT HAS!

I’m sly like a faux.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
J:

Or you just need more to do.
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Pho sho.

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