A menu in a cafe or restaurant both facilitates and constrains our choices. Constrains, because there are a finite number of items – though as chefs are keenly aware, a good menu will make choosing one item rather difficult. Even given a wide array of dishes, chefs also understand that choices are often made on the basis of what seems familiar; or at the very least, what is within the cultural norms of cuisine in a given place. Developing and writing a menu is an interesting and complex exercise, and I wonder, my imaginary friend, how many people think of how their dining choices are formed by chefs and cooks? We are more accustomed to believing it is ourselves that choose, even in spite of the limitations of choice by what is on the menu.
I have spent much of my time these past few weeks pondering the mystery of why people should be content to live life as if it were limited, rather than a vast smorgasbord, and the menu analogy immediately comes to mind. One may accept a rudely-slapped-together peanut butter sandwich (on white bread!) given circumstances or necessity, but does one then accept that is dinner, now and forevermore? The more interesting question is how such came to be on the menu…This by way of introducing you to the menu I am writing – it’s a work in progress.
Life Cafe Menu
Fresh and crispy greens with a froth of courtesy and attention, garnished with spiced tidbits.
Soup to nourish: a gentle wake up to the taste, or a larger serving of comfort. Served with rustic bread baked in house, and a genuine smile.
Appetizer platter with particular attention to a variety of tastes, textures and styles, and a plenitude of sauces, dips, and salsas to surprise and delight.
Handmade pasta with a sensuous sauce, shavings of affection and regard, and a frisson of piquant.
Lively picatta, pan fried with the richness of experience, seasoned simply and presented with love.
Roast of life essence, all the trimmings, in measure to satisfy, and a feast of joy.
Luscious curd in a flaky shell for contrast, decorated with sparkle and wit.
Delicious pie of friendship: homey, satisfying, essential, and deeply moving. A la mode?
Nuances of meringue with delicacy and sensitivity, and candied moments of the new and exotic.
Oh! Well, I confess this is fun, and I did warn you it is a work in progress. I would be delighted to choose any of the items on this menu, which is hardly surprising as I wrote it for myself. Really, when I see Roast of Bore on a menu I run for the exit…And now my imaginary friend asks, what exactly is the point? Just this, I suppose, that we ought all write our own menus (borrowing from the professionals as seems fitting), and change them often, and opt for the buffet at times…because life, and love, and adventure are all out there beyond the Roast Bore Diner.
Find more of this delightful art work to inspire your menu here.