Dear Marc and Steven,
Although you are now only little boys of 5 and 4 respectively, one day you will be grown men wondering what the hell we did with all our money back when we had any.
You may be wondering this as you contemplate your tax returns, or while your sweet young wives ask aloud why they are expected to do Thanksgiving AGAIN this year. Or it may just idly cross your mind one morning as you suck down your desiccated yogurt.
Or maybe Prune Pills.
Yes, boys, food will not be Fun when you grow up. And with graceful change in subject we hope we've shown you that it never does any good to cry after Auntie Annie's money.
In the past forty years, food went from being Tasty to Fun to Lavish to Guilt-inducing. Right now we are all running around like chickens with our heads chopped off, worshiping butchers and not having the least idea what to do next.
Obviously, it will all end in a return to "food as a three-times-daily pill". Many will sigh with relief, and we will go back to measuring status by penis size, as nature intended.
When we and your Daddy were young, dinner parties were given by the ladies of our community, which was actually Valley Stream but everyone called The Five Towns.
The main course tended to be something like Beef Wellington. There were wines, but these were just for show; everyone really drank vodka, except those nancy-boys who preferred scotch. The meal cost 11 times what an ordinary dinner would cost and was generally disrupted by one of the ladies tossing her girdle into the centerpiece, or other early-sixties suburban expressions of glee.
Eventually the Beef Wellington was replaced by fondue, and then the gentlemen would identify their forks by attaching their toupees thereunto. (NOTE: As they used to say in Hollywood, this is a True Historical Incident,)
By this time you will infer that we were in the Fun phase of food development. When not dining at fancy dinner parties, everyone ate Astronaut Food Stix and experimented with placing pineapple on their pizza. It was still considered fun.
This brings us to the 1970's, when your Grandma Berrol started wearing long hand-woven skirts as hostess gowns. (Grandpa Ed kept wearing an ascot and safari jacket a la Stewart Granger, which confused everyone, but hey, it was the dress-as-you-like era.)
Grandma served "hearty peasant fare", also known as beans, tomatoes, and beef shin bones. They were not aways in the same dish, but mostly. Babka was the dessert of choice. Astonishingly, rye bread was now allowed on the "fancy" dinner table, as if 60's Parker House rolls had never been heard of.
Soon Grandma started cooking really good Chinese food and kept on with that for the rest of her life, but that actually isn't very funny so let's look at how Daddy and we entertained our teenage "chums".
Your Dad was quite a host, although he didn't cook so much as bake, and all Hell broke loose one night when Grandpa, lightheaded with hunger after the Yom Kippur fast, found a box of brownies in the fridge and finished them all in a mess of guilty chomping.
Yes, boys, the brownies contained the better part of an ounce of the best weed procurable in Ithaca, New York, and Grandpa did some very funny things after that. And so Dad confined his cookery to salami omelets, with he still smokes up the kitchen once in a while, although for a few months after the brownie debacle he had to go live in Boston and God only knows if he found anything to eat there or not.
Meanwhile, we married Uncle Stupidhead and we were giving dinner parties of our own. It was now the 1980's and someone had given us a copy of The Silver Palate Cookbook, which is what started us thinking about dinner parties in the first place.
True, SP introduced us to plenty of things which now seems banal...brie, balsamic vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes, chicken salad with Tarragon. We personally love these things and eat all of them now as well, but, as much as we liked serving them in the old days, all we really remember is most of the men looking blankly and saying things like "Is there gonna be more food after this?" while the ladies would push the pomegranate seeds under the basil leaves and smile madly as they drank ever-larger G&Ts.
The fact is, and this is what we wanted to explain to you, in our experience there are still many people in the world who will greet the introduction of pesto as "Ewwwww, green slime!" even though Kim Severson of the Times says that it is as out-moded as shoulder pads. And she might think that comfort food is out of style, but we personally have catered too people who think macaroni and cheese with Parmesan (out of a green can) is just a leetle too daring, and they'll have theirs straight from the blue box, if you please.
So how much longer can food prevail, now that the Times has buried and mourned every food discovery and fashion from Julia onwards?
It's time for the prune pills, boys. And we hope you enjoy them.