Speaking of Aphrodisiacs…

I never thought of myself (Sarah Mac) as someone who has hobbies (because knitting is not a hobby, but rather a way of life). When I’m in a big group at a conference or at a first team meeting of the semester , everyone goes around the room and says their hobbies as a way to introduce themselves and I never really have anything to say. However, in the last few days, I’ve come to grips with the fact that I do have a hobby. My hobby is food. And I can’t decide if that is the perfect fit for a voluptuous girl, or if it’s an embarrassing study in excess. Either way, after doing a little research on Wikipedia (the internet’s best source for true and reliable information) I’ve decided to own up to being a “foodie,“ which is considered a distinct hobbyist group in the United States.

The realization began last Friday. My friend Beth (with whom I have for many years had a standing Friday morning catch-up and coffee date) gave me a book called Gastronaut: Adventures in food for the romantic, the foolhardy, and the brave. As I began to play with the idea of this book, I realized that the last favorite book I had (before I stupidly allowed myself to become obsessed with teenaged vampires) was pretty much everything that Ruth Reichl has ever written.

Ruth Reichl is the former food critic for the New York Times and the current editor of Gourmet magazine (I actually have braised cannellini beans packed in my lunch today that I made from a recipe from January’s issue). She also writes books about… well, food. Honestly, outside of teenage vampires and Ed Harris, there’s not a whole lot sexier than the way that Ruth Reichl describes food.

I remember very vividly sitting in Charlie’s kitchen one day this summer trying to explain to his wife, Jaye, how it normalized all of my secret thoughts to hear food described the way that these books did. As I stumbled over my words (which often happens when I’m trying to talk…) I heard my voice stutter awkwardly that I would almost consider “de-vegging” in order to truly experience a sheep kidney that felt like “clouds on your tongue.” And then we caught a mouse in our house this weekend and I felt so bad for him as I watched him hyperventilate and struggle against the tacky trap (and almost pull his right eye out of its socket) that I decided with great conclusiveness that in order to keep my conscience at bay, I would have to continue finding creative ways to flavor in the absence of meat in my culinary adventures… Clouds on my tongue or not.

That being said, I have another opportunity this weekend to cheat and try another well-known delicacy (less like a cloud and more like a loogie on your tongue). On very short notice, we booked a gig for tomorrow night at Bird’s Aphrodisiac Oyster Shack. I was a little creeped out by the idea of what I might find in an internet search for “aphrodisiacs” so I settled for looking up “oysters” in my Gastronaut book. I found in chapter 2, “Adventures in Dining,” a complete plan to staging your own Bacchanalian orgy, with oysters on the menu as a part of the main course (along with goose livers). Then in chapter 3, “Food and the Body,” there is a survey asking participants “which meal, if any, is most likely to end in sexual congress?” 18% of participants responded with “no reponse/expression of outrage,” 11% responded with “a meal with lots of alcohol,” and not too far down the list was “oysters,” the randy-maker of choice for 3% of survey respondents.

Although I don’t know what the probability of getting lucky after a meal of both oysters and lots of alcohol might be, I do know that you can get both at Bird’s tomorrow. And even if you don’t get lucky in that way you’re still getting lucky in the fact that the show only costs $3 to get in. As a special treat, we’re also offering a deal: if you up to $5 at the door, we’ll throw in a copy of our 2008 single release Open Fire. This will be the last time that I’ll play a show with the band before I’m off to Benin (Africa) for three weeks with our friends from Unseen Stories, where I’ll play a couple of bar gigs in Cotonou, and will surely exercise my newly discovered “hobby” as I encounter many interesting foods… hopefully none that might lead to typhoid, which I did not get vaccinated against. Let’s hope that I’m lucky, eh?

What: Spontaneous Show

Where: Bird’s Aphrodisiac Oyster Shack (Directions HERE)

When: Tomorrow, Friday, January 16, 2009

What Time: 10:00 PM

How Much: $3 door, or $5 door and Open Fire single



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