Sexy Feast: Le Gourmand the Perfect Sexual Antidote to the Tea Party

le_gourmand_salad_500I’m sitting in Le Gourmand, staring at a “simple” menu of five starters and five entrees, trying to figure out what to eat.

I flip the menu over, and above a half-page list of local ingredient sources, there’s a quote from Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin about gourmandism, which says, in part:

Morally it is an implicit obedience to the rules of the Creator, who, having ordered us to eat in order to live, invites us to do so with appetite, encourages us with flavor, and rewards us with pleasure. (from The Physiology of Taste, 1825)

Regardless of whether we believe in a higher power or not, the words are meaningful. As is the French gastronome, whom you might know better for his words that mark the start of Iron Chef: “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.” In Sexy Feast, where I look at the connections between sex and food, I’d claim: Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you how you are–sexually.

I flipped the menu back over and, ahead of my entrée, ordered the “Salade Composée: created using Seasonal Ingredients from Organic Farmers and Foragers (AQ).”

As with some sex, I wasn’t quite sure what I was getting into with this salad. But I was curious. After all, the salad was expensive (AQ means “As Quoted,” and on this particular evening they quoted the salad at $18), so I expected first-class treatment, and I wanted to fully enjoy the experience.

So I took my time eating the salad, savoring it with all of my senses. I could tell from the look of the lettuce that I’d be delighting in some delicate bites, with tastes running from sweet to slightly bitter. I ogled the halved, turgid tomatoes, ultimately taking in their bursts of sweet juiciness. And I rejoiced in the curves and then the smell of the roasted patty pan squash, and even tuned in to the sound of the bites into the crisp beans.

I didn’t attack the salad, as I’m sometimes wont to do. Instead, I explored it, relished it, and essentially worshipped it.

Chef Bruce Naftaly assembled the ingredients carefully, then treated the salad with respect by dressing it with a divine, light touch–just as we should do when we’re before an undressed (or even dressed) body. Can you describe your partner’s smell? Do you note how the cling of the underwear reveals the curve of the buttocks? Do you feel the texture of the lingerie’s lace, or the softness of the skin on the earlobe, the nape of the neck, or the top of a foot? How about the sound of your partner’s breaths while getting aroused? The flavor of the skin, sweat, and bodily fluids?

Which brings us back to Brillant-Savarin’s quote about gourmandism. We may have to eat to live, but we’re blessed that we can also live to eat. The same is true for sex. We should keep this in mind as Tea Partiers reveal their underlying social agenda, which (given the anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, anti-birth control and now anti-masturbation sentiment) is ultimately anti-sex, and brings back the historical argument of sex for procreation versus sex for recreation. We do, in fact, enjoy sexual appetite, and deserve to be rewarded with pleasure. So whatever type of eating you do, I say, “Happy foraging.”

First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on September 23, 2010.

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