If the point of the exercise is to start a conversation with someone who – on paper anyway – you shouldn’t be capable of conversing with, no subject makes starting a conversation any easier than talking about food. Everyone eats. We have that in common no matter what. Even if we hate what we eat – that’s something to talk about and, chances are, if you hate what you eat, that’s something you’re dying to talk about. Sitting together and eating – dining perhaps! – that is so fundamental to the experience of being here and being human. Because, regardless of whether or not the food is good, any meal improves markedly if the conversation sparkles.
And then, when we talk about food itself? Food is memory. Food is ritual. Food is habit and adventure. Food is sensual. Food is addicting. Food is Life.
And food is stories. Man-oh-man, is food stories. Randy has traveled his whole life. It’s entirely possible that, aside from Antarctica, he’s hit literally every continent. That means he’s eaten on them. And, as I point out during our conversation, a lot of the places on those continents Randy visited (and lived in) didn’t have anything in the way of refrigeration. Food, while necessary, always carried risk. And rewards! These aren’t all just “I ate something I shouldn’t have and got sick” stories.
There are stories here about, well, “food, glorious food” – not merely good meals we’ve had but great ones! We’ll talk Tongkatsu Ramen and Marmite, Old Bay Seasoning and Mushy Peas, Mind-blowing shrimp-n-grits and chicken sushi. Yeah – chicken sushi. There’s an honest-to-goodness chicken sushi story.
So, pull up a seat. Can we get you a drink? Sure hope you’re hungry…! Of course, before we start – “The Missionary’s Prayer”: “Lord, if I can get it down, please keep it down”.
Or, if you’d prefer to watch…