One thing I remember Jamie Oliver once said was that you can tell what kind of people are behind the food once you eat it. No well-ordered family will be able to serve you bad food.
Something similar came up as I watched Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown (S8, E8) about Rome. As you might be familiar, I love the guy. Through his shows, I’ve learned about the humanity of eating animals and the idea of cappuccino people, among many other philosophical things that should only be allowed to come up over a meal.
“These people can’t make bad food. Because they care about you enjoying your meal!”
That was said by a tough old man who used to be a movie director. Here’s another one, told by Anthony himself in his narrator voice:
“I will never tell you the name of this place. She still brings her kids here to eat, and I don’t want to ruin it for them!”
Ok, everything above is paraphrased but I believe the idea is accurate. Good food is made by people who have your best interest at heart. And good food places must be protected. As in, protected against fame.
So it must necessarily then mean that suckers like me, who have been relying on TripAdvisor and random blogs on the internet to find good food while I’m traveling, have been eating second-grade food.
Probably not so bad as shitty food, but still, second-grade, good-enough-for-the-masses food.
Looking at it this way is at the same time infuriating and deeply comforting. It makes me want to walk more off the beaten track when traveling so I could at least chance upon these places once in a while. That’s how to find good food anywhere in the world. Wander! Or perhaps easier, be like Anthony Bourdain and find people who have grown up in a place to show you around.
The best part is knowing that a place that serves good food is almost guaranteed to have good people. I can’t think of a better way to spend a meal.
Photo by Lan Pham on Unsplash.