Big, fancy meals

January 8th, 2014, 10pm

Paying $100-200+ per head at a restaurant means you’re treating yourself. You’re affording yourself — and whomever you happen to be indulging with — the luxury of experiencing something new and potentially unique (or at least more unique than your usual culinary humdrum), and doing so less for the sake of eating — taking in calories — and more for the sake of tasting. For the sensual experience of food.

Unfortunately, I almost always walk away from these sensual experiences near death.

The portions are smaller than what you’ll find at the falafel place down the street, but there are so many of them, and they’re so rich that after the fourth course, you’re silently praying that the next one is dessert, and after the next (nope, not dessert) course’s plates are taken away, you’re not silent anymore. You’re clutching the edge of the table, complaining to your company how miserable you are, and then acknowledging how ridiculous it is to complain about being able to go out for fancy meals in fancy places and to be treated like fancy people. The pain disappears momentarily after that, but only until the next (still not dessert) course is presented. FML.

There was a time when I struggled to fill my world with the trappings of success. I fancied myself a nonstandard trapper, in that I’ve never been into cars or houses; I had an aesthetic, you see, so the things I chose to surround myself with were highly curated and valuable beyond their dollar value.

This is a self-delusion that lasted only a few hours past my first truly over-the-top food adventure. As I lay on my bed, curled up and regretting that last chunk of lamb-something with whatever, topped with foam-of-I don’t know and sprinkled with some kind of nut for texture, I realized that in going over-the-top with any of my actions or possessions, I was still posturing; I was just posturing in a way that would be less recognized as posturing to some. Less-obvious peacocking, but peacocking nonetheless.

In this way, food helped me realize that luxury is what you decide it is. For me, these days, luxury is knowing I have all my time, with incredibly few exceptions, to do with whatever I like. What luxury! It’s not something everyone would recognize as such, certainly, but to me, it’s everything I ever wanted. It’s something even the super-wealthy can seldom afford.

This self-definition has been marvelous for many reasons, but one of them is that it’s given my poor stomach a break from all the rich foods, innumerable portions, and the desire to measure my life by the parade of fancy tidbits presented before it, rather than how much I might enjoy said tidbits.

Lia, David Wade, Dani, Craig and 1 more said thanks.

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Colin Wright

Author, entrepreneur, and full-time traveler / I move to a new country every four months based on the votes of my readers / My work ( / My blog ( / My publishing company (

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