Milongueros, tangueros, bailarínes, maestros: muchísimas gracias a todos. You have all taught me by example important lessons about how to be a free and independent woman. So on my own axis it hurts. You've helped me learn to value myself at a price above rubies and not define myself by how I fit into other peoples' lives. You've helped me be majestically arrogant and see the world as my oyster...and everyone in it as pearls free for my harvesting upon whim. You've helped me develop the treasure of living in the moment and going with my instincts, no matter what they are. I love you all. Thank you.
Now it's time for you to take a lesson from me.
I am a mom. I am a battle-scarred foot soldier in the endless war naively referred to as, “trying to get young children to eat a nutritious and varied diet.” Or sometimes, for short, “trying to get young children to eat food.” I lose most of the battles, but I never give up. And I know junky snacks when they dare look me in the eye.
It drives me flipping nuts that, when it comes to women, you guys never sit down to eat a full meal! Snack, snack, snack. Nibble, nibble, nibble. All night long, every night. During the day. You're grazing your lives away, standing up, like cows. A few nuts here, some olives there, a cube of cheese, a single Ritz cracker. You're always stuffing yourselves with canapés and therefore are never hungry. You're also missing out on nutrients that can make you live happier, healthier lives.
Instead of standing there with a toothpick and a cocktail napkin, lacking the attention span required to finish a melon ball, come with me. Let me tell you about some wonders of which you're depriving yourselves. And so that you get the maximum enjoyment out of this little experiment, I'm going to ask you not to eat anything for at least...two hours beforehand. Ok, ok! Don't get so crazy! One hour? ….Twenty minutes?
This is a table. It may look unfamiliar to those of you who are used to getting all of your nourishment at milonga spreads. This is a chair. Sit down in the chair. Really. Get comfy. Yep...do it...sit down...put all your weight on your butt. And don't get up.
This is going to take longer than ten minutes. I see that wild panic in your eyes. But trust me: you'll love it.
Here is a large white cloth napkin. Put it in your lap. These shining porcelain things are dishes. These heavy metallic objects are called utensils. We use them to eat meals. And you are here, tonight, to eat a meal. Try it out! Here's a little champagne to get you started, and an amuse-bouche, some lardons in an endive leaf. See—meals can start with exactly the stuff you eat all the time! But here's the wonderful surprise: you don't have to stop there. It just gets better.
Try this. I know it looks like an awful lot to someone used to consuming no more than a bite and a half of any given food, but it's so delicious you won't want to stop once you've started. Seared foie gras with brioche toast. Filet mignon with a wine-reduction glaze. Truffled roast potatoes. Tiny green beans with Meyer lemon butter. Bordeaux. Arugula salad with hazelnut oil. Brie de Meaux and Cantal with dried apricots, walnuts, and wild raspberry honey. Armagnac. Tarte tatin. Café au lait. Dark chocolate truffles.
How do you feel now?
Sounds good, eh? And here's the wonder of it: I'm on to your non-secret. I am totally not telling you guys, “you have to eat at the same French restaurant every night of your lives.” You want Italian some night? Great! Go out for Italian! Curry! Bibimbop! Whatever you like, man. It's your life. But do it up right. This snacking nonsense is ruining it for everybody. You're missing out on what eating can really be about. And the restaurants get frustrated because the best of what they have to offer, what they're really excited to offer their clientele, sits around mouldering in the freezer untasted.
I'm only thinking of you. I want you to be happy. I want you to taste a greater range of the delicious treasures life can offer you. Also you piss me off, personally, and worse, on behalf of women.
I love you exactly the way you are. Now change.