Last night I made a completely mediocre dinner. Everything was organic and gorgeous and roasted and sautéed in approved oils and should have been delicious. But it wasn’t. Also, those Whole Food-vegan-pig sausages are too reminiscent of phalli to be consumed by the 11 year old without protestations and sniggering. So in lieu of yummy noises (which is the norm at the dinner table), there were lots of giggles (because of the penis dinner), and everyone was going to be hungry again in an hour.
This week, Tom and Gisele’s cook was interviewed in the Boston Globe. Their gifted chef would never serve mediocre food. Or maybe he could. According to my interpretation of the interview, Tom and Gisele don’t really like food. Their kids eat vegetarian sushi with brown rice. For lunch. Every day. “Comfort food” is wilted kale over quinoa. Sugar is so verboten Tom will hardly tolerate a banana, or understandably, the homemade fruit roll ups the chef makes with pond scum. Yes, America’s healthiest beautiful people eat pond scum. After spending $1200 and umpteen on-line hours learning about nutrition from noted specialists, this Chef to the Loveliest touted Spirulina (a blue green alga) a “super fruit” and mixes it in to all sorts of dishes to keep America’s sweethearts heart-healthy.
Now, I might be a bit more schooled in the subject of phycology than Allen Campbell. After all, I’m published in Aquatic Botany. But most multicellular sentient beings recognize that algae aren’t fruit. And though you could make a reasonable salad with kelp stems and spring Ulva, why would you bother when we have stores containing shelves upon shelves of… food?
Immediately and irrepressibly I was poking fun at Chef Campbell for admitting he doesn’t begin any work day until 11am, and for his zeal for sober, raw, gluten-free, mostly meatless (possibly joyless), decaffeinated meals that MUST BE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY. With my medical degree and usual smugness, I wondered if sprinkling an Advil over a bowl of fettuccine could have the same effect. But Allen Campbell, with his impressive log of one (1) on-line course in nutrition, informs Globe readers that tomatoes, eggplants, flour, sugar, mushrooms, milk, and fruit will be the death of you. Also, scrap your shaker of Morton’s. The beautiful people only salt with the Himalayan pink crystals (which are, in fact, 98% good old NaCl).
Maybe he’s right. I mean look at Gisele and Tom– so genetically gifted they are perched on the high dive of the gene pool, hardly dipping a toe in the deep with the rest of the sugar-eaters. But if the secret to youth, beauty, vibrancy, likability, wealth, success, and Super Bowl victories hides in their mostly empty kitchen cabinets, it’s worth attempting one Brady-Bundchen meal à la Campbell. So I did. And it wasn’t gross, it was just… meh. Maybe Spirulina was the secret ingredient missing from my bowls of savory, organic stew. More likely it was the shit ton of garlic and delectable saucy flavors only a talented chef could invent to mask the fact that super healthy food is often super blah.
Allen Campbell isn’t the first celebrity chef to affect medical wisdom when he has none, but his lack of self-effacing perspective really made the interview dry heave-y. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if these people could giggle a bit about food? The carefully curated diet, hired specialist, and ever-growing list of Must Never Eat foods is so so so so so boring to me. It’s Kardashian level boring. Certainly nutrition is essential, but it would be nearly impossible for most mortals to plan affordable and entirely organic and vegetarian pond scum flecked meals that taste wonderful. I would have eaten up an article by Campbell confessing how fucking hard it is to whip all of these plants into something as satisfying as a burrito from Anna’s Taqueria. Or how little Benny and Vivi snigger at and refuse to eat a penis-shaped or otherwise repellent-because-so-healthy meal. So sometimes he sneaks them cereal an hour later. Just like the Lees.