Scene Selections: Foodie Fascinations
By Mike Donovan, Scene Editor
It’s an addiction we don’t often speak about. It makes no appearances in flashy, you-centered PSA’s, and you’ve certainly never read any studies about its ties to cancer. But make no mistake. “Three Packs A Day” of Mi Goreng’s finest instant noodles (“Boil it up, water in the saucepan”) will shatter your body (“Burn my tongue, patience is a virtue”), your social life (“I withdraw from all my friends”) and your agency (“Cause I just crave that meager taste, yeah”). The king of instant noodles, mind you, will become the tyrant of your soul: the MSG-laced puppet master governing your better senses. All it takes is a few clicks (30-count variety pack, available on Amazon) and you’re lost, dead, a menace to your best self. Consider carrots or celery. Much better for you. But Mi Goreng? “It is no good / It is no good / It is no good for you.” I don’t care how tasty the hook is.
By Gina Twardosz, Scene Writer
Watermelon sugar — that’s a food, right? Regardless of what it is or isn’t, it’s absolutely the title of Harry Styles’ latest full-bodied pop single, which he debuted on Saturday’s episode of SNL. It’s certainly more sugary sweet than anything from his first eponymous album, but it makes up for that with a hint of soul and languid yearning reminiscent of the dog days of summer: a welcome reprieve in the midst of this freezing November. While the song is rumored to be about Styles’ break-up with Camille Rowe, and its title is based upon a novel that deals with themes of abstraction in a post-apocalyptic world, “Watermelon Sugar” itself is a song you don’t have to think too hard about. It’s effortlessly catchy, breathy and enjoyable. If anything, it’s the perfect song to add to your Thanksgiving road trip playlist. Maybe even treat yourself to a second helping and put it on there twice, because just one listen to the delicious lyrics and rich pop melody is simply not enough.
By Jake Winningham, Scene Writer
As an art form, film traditionally plays on the eyes and ears — but it can work for our taste buds, too. Every day should start with a healthy breakfast; why not take a page out of Rocky Balboa’s book and chug down raw eggs? It may take you a few hours to recover from that experience, which leads perfectly into your lunch break. Any movie fan has a plethora of options: a Big Kahuna Burger with a $5 milkshake, perhaps. The particularly picky among us could have four fried chickens and dry white toast. For an afternoon snack, nobody could ever go wrong with coffee and cigarettes or miniature bread. When cooking dinner, the world is your oyster: you can have Italian food, Scorsese-style or Disney-style, or maybe something a little more adventurous (just make sure it’s not alive first). Last, but certainly not least, is dessert. Luckily, this meal has the easiest instructions of all for any cinematically-inclined gourmand: leave the gun, but take the cannoli.
By Ryan Israel, Scene Writer
Vanilla, chocolate or mint — the flavor doesn’t matter. It’s the general concept of a milkshake that brings all the boys to the yard, and that shouldn’t come as any surprise. Milkshakes are delicious, sweet and creamy. They’re also practical. Why eat ice cream with a spoon like a fool when you can slurp it out of a cup? When early 2000s R&B goddess Kelis says her milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, it’s not completely clear what she means. Again, it doesn’t really matter. Whatever it is, she’s got it. And the persistence of “Milkshake” only supports the fact that the concept of a milkshake remains the same. Play the song at any dorm party, and everyone will at least know the chorus. Listen on your own and you’ll discover the song’s seductive allure, resulting from the combination of a trance-y beat from The Neptunes and Kelis’s whispers. Later in her career, Kelis, who’s also a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef, would drop an album titled “Food,” featuring songs such as “Jerk Ribs” and “Cobbler,” but “Milkshake” remains the best food-related song of them all.
“Chopped” — Food Network program
By Nia Sylva, Scene Writer
“You have been chopped.” This simple catchphrase belongs to what I believe is the best Food Network program of all time. Other shows might have bigger stakes or feature more amazing culinary creations, but Chopped has it all. Drama! Intrigue! Absurd challenges! The show asks chefs to create appetizing meals from ridiculously random and obscure ingredients, some of which no one should ever be allowed to cook. Chefs prepare goat brains and mashed potato candy; someone always, without fail, attempts to cook risotto. And ill-advised risotto ambition isn’t the show’s only entertaining trope. Contestants often fail to get all four basket ingredients on the plate. This provides an opportunity for passive aggressive comments from the judges, who are never afraid to be brutally honest with contestants. Someone always tries (and fails) to use the ice cream machine. As the seconds tick down, chefs frantically make last-minute vinaigrettes, grab plates and run back and forth from the pantry looking for something with a “crunch” to add some “textural contrast” to their dishes. The judges wince and shake their heads at the chaos, as if they haven’t asked for dishes made from Jello, dried strawberries and Spam. Only rarely do the finished products look like something anyone would want to eat. But Chopped isn’t really about the food, anyway.