About twenty minutes ago, I ordered beans on toast with two poached eggs on the side.
About five minutes ago, I finished eating those beans, and eggs, and bread. And yes, it was all very delicious.
But you want to know what made it delicious? Specifically, it was: Rubbing the bread in the egg yolk that oozed through the egg’s splintered side, smooshing the combined egg-bread into deflated beans that I myself had crushed, and taking large mouthfuls of what looked more like a brownie-red goo rather than a fifteen dollar breakfast.
During my meal, there sat beside me a mother, and her kid, a grubby five-fifteen month old, clad snugly in vestiges of his morning meal.
Not that I intentionally meant to eavesdrop, it’s just that, if you’re sitting beside someone in a cafe, it takes more of an effort to not listen to someone’s conversation rather than to passively soak it in; so often, I’d inevitably hear, when the kid was picking up his coffee (yes, his coffee, not the cup containing the said coffee), and/or jabbing his fork into the bread, his mum say, “now, Jake (I’m omitting his name for privacy reasons) don’t play with your food. Use your manners.”
And there, little Jake would look up at his mum with big blue eyes, and, being the recalcitrant little kumquat that he already was, he would slap both of his palms onto the table, giggle, raise his newly-yolked hands up to his mouth, and give em a good ol fashioned slurp. Where he would then look curiously up at his mum – obviously doing her best to teach little Jake social etiquette, but failing quite abysmally – wondering what on earth he was doing wrong, and why his mum seemed a little frustrated at his playful antics.
Unlike little Jake, I’m 24 years old; at least twenty-three years his senior.
And, to tell you the truth; after I’ve just finished a meal with deliciousness still sticking to the plate, I’ll run my finger across it – in the same manner one finger paints – and I will then, once my finger’s done all it could to collect as much of the gooey goodness as possible, I will lick that heavily lathered finger clean. Later, once I’ve successfully accumulated enough remnants of what was once my breakfast on my beard, I’ll give that ol bristle-toe a bit of a suck, in part to clean myself, and in part to enjoy one last shang-bang of eggy deliciousness I still have access to.
And what’s wrong with that?
From a young age, we’re all told and taught:
“Don’t play with your food! It’s rude!”
But to that I say, no. No! Playing with your food makes it more delicious.
Playing with your food will see that you create the most flavourful combinations. It will see that you appreciate your food without merely funnelling it down your eager oesophagus. It will make people stare at your uncaring ways and thus cause them jealousy and thus build up your karma points and thus reward you in a new life (what?)
And quite simply and most importantly. Cause it’s fun!
But it doesn’t stop at food, no sir, no how!
When you walk through a park that’s bedded with long, moistened strands of grass, does it not feel nice to walk through it with bare feet? Or, assuming it’s not a thousand degree day, is it not nicer to walk across the beach’s sand without flip-flops on, and instead letting yourself feel the sand’s collective body blanket over your skin, through your toes, and around your heels?
So much of the life we lead, we’re encouraged to not enjoy. We tend to allocate specific parts of our days, for our hair to hang loose, or for our belly to protrude from behind our belt buckles without worry. We’re taught to refrain from “playing with our food” for fear of being ostracised and reproached by the polite-police.
To this I say, fee-fi-fooey!
Always play with your food.
Always play with your life.
And don’t worry so much about letting your hair fall into a bowl of red soup (I demand you).
Because ultimately, if we don’t make our life about enjoying the little things, about indulging in the trivial, day-to-day events and circumstances that paint in the small details that is this masterpiece comprising our world, then our lives shall, definitely, become bland, fearfully hopeful, and incessantly in wont of lamenting for a day that will never, ever, not ever, come.
A day we imagine will arrive as a pay off for having not played with our food for all those years. The illusive day that is tomorrow.
Humans-are-hunters-and-gatherers. But now we’re mostly, all of us, this has been scientifically proven, pettily consuming Buzzkillingtons.