Last year at this time, I interviewed Chef Jason Wilson for an Edible Seattle article about sex and food, exploring the idea that diners’ eating preferences can predict what kind of sex lives they have. In discussing variety, he mentioned that some people come to Crush for 6-course or 12-course tasting menus, while some simply order the short ribs each and every time.
Remarkably, I never had those renowned short ribs–until three weeks ago. I’d always been attracted to other menu items, but this time those ribs made their way into my tasting menu.
As always, Wilson’s food was wonderful, from the gorgeous gougères that start every meal to the cherried chocolate cake that provided a sweet finish. The hamachi crudo was sexy and seductive. As for the short ribs? It was love at first bite, a melt-in-your-mouth experience of deep, intense flavor that caressed and comforted me, and was the most memorable part of a perfect meal.
So what does Crush’s tasting menu teach us about sex?
It’s all about giving up control and responsibility.
Don’t me wrong: As a sex educator, I’m always stressing the need to keep control (of your situation) and to take responsibility for your actions. But with a tasting menu, you give up control and abdicate responsibility from menu selection. It’s a lot like ordering omakase at a sushi restaurant. You’re basically telling the chef, “I trust you, so I’m putting myself in your hands to just feed me what you’d like.”
Sometimes a tasting menu is already spelled out, but when it’s not (or if you request a tasting menu even though you don’t see it advertised), the chef will typically ask if there’s anything you don’t eat or that you especially want. Then it’s all up to the chef, who’s now in control. In exchange, you’re likely to discover something new–and hopefully appealing.
It’s the same with sex. Sometimes you need to get out of your comfort zone to get turned on, aroused, stimulated.
In the article, Wilson talks about ruts and routines, positing, “Maybe the ones who have the short ribs and a glass of the cabernet every time are the missionaries, and maybe the ones who do the tasting menus are the swingers.”
When I followed up, asking him if people find comfort in both food and sex, he responded “Yeah, some people like what they like. It’s missionary, it’s three minutes, and it’s done–then you roll over and go to sleep, and it’s like: What the hell happened to my life?”
Well, what happened to me is that I had those short ribs, and now I can sort of see why some people want them each and every time. Maybe eating them was my way of (re)discovering the missionary position. Or maybe there are just many missionary positions–the ones we know, and the ones we’ve yet to discover. After all, while I’m not a swinger, it took a tasting menu to expand my horizons of pleasure, and that process will surely continue in the future. As it should for you.
First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on August 18, 2011.