Ratatouille: a movie about a rat who cooks. I’m proud to say I love the schmaltzy twerp. Who wouldn’t be moved by those oily lights of Paris in the night? It helps if you live in a charming attic with windows and gables and an off camera accordion, yes, but ahhh, the rohmaaaance! What a view to behold! Zeee possibilities!
For Remy, it’s Gusteau and the Seine and Montmarte and for me, the little MBA scroll I imagine as I drift off to sleep. Of course, there are other times I slip into reverie and I think it’s no wonder that they, like the rat’s flights of fancy, involve food.
The romance of a moveable feast: the following are the lovely meals populating my week that, taken together, turn the rivers of Babylon into heady MBA wine:
1) Asian-ish: nothing fills the belly like Hoa-Hoa somewhat-Chinese food in the Dobie Mall. For a piddling seven dollars, receive two bounteous scoops of rice, a crispy egg roll, two entrees, and hot and sour soup. The Chinese epic Monkey: Journey to the West is full of magical feats like friars drinking up rivers, but standing erect post-feast with these rice anvils in your tummy was surely beyond those magi. Moreover, an elderly woman in Esprits who makes me feel mildly guilty picks up my tray. Octogenarians should never pick up my tray. The guilt does induce future visits.
2) Doner kebap: I had sworn this Turkish Berliner delight off before leaving Germany much in the same way I long ago revolted against the tyranny of breakfast Eggos, but just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. Is it the squareness of the German proprietor’s glasses? Is it the siren hum of the hedge trimmer they use to cut tajadas of carne for me and me alone? Is it the swank logo – “Verts!” with a communist star stamped hard on it? “It’s vert it,” I inwardly exclaim, eyeing the $7 price tag. Of course, for sieben dollars, Ich could auch do Hoa Hoa, but every once in a while, you have to indulge your inner feta lover. How to describe a doner to the uninitiated? Suffice it to say that while WordPress doesn’t have a button for umlauts, there’s a great big one over the second letter there, meaning it’s as rock awesome as Motorhead, and if I were a hot dog, I would most definitely eat Motorhead. Also, Verts drives a van, and I only know a few other companies that do business in a bus, and it seems to work well for them.
3) Sandwiches: Which Which is the confluence of Operations, Austin, and my great love affair with sandwiches. The sandwich, we can all agree, is the greatest thing ever. After much experimentation, his gray eminence the Earl decided that two slices with stuff in between was the definite way to go. Efficiency personified, if sandwiches are people. In any case, Which Which has undercut Subway on price (here’s to you, marketing man) and more importantly, has come up with the brilliant idea of me writing my order on a long, brown bag into which my sandwich soon slips. This improves flow time, minimizes queuing problems, and emotionally invests me in the creation process (and one to you, Pure Health Nutriceuticals). When it’s all said and done, I feel a sense of accomplishment at breaking down the process with my shiny new Operations 101 toolkit; such self-congratulatory euphoria vanishes just as quickly upon choosing to browse variable inventory problems while munching my turkey stuffing hero. Lunch is suddenly less Thanksgiving-y; more resentful-y.
4) Dangerous miscellany: I’ve resumed trips to random trailer entrepreneurs who take real pride in not shaving anything ever and selling celery quinoa kombucha salad things or having so much smoke fuming out the BBQ-mobile you’d be sure Ali G had relocated. These folks sell some of the greatest foods known to Austin man and in exchange for such treasures, traveler, all we ask of you is some intestinal fortitude (no, literally, strong kishkes). Second to actual Russian roulette, few things excite more than scarfing munchies east of 35 and praying for the best. Not to worry – Indiana Jones, like you, was at least 90% confident his mine cart would catch the tracks on the other side of the Indian lava pit, a metaphor for the stomach after Chicken Madras a la hobo.
Undergrads in cloned Umbros, the ever-renewing pleasures of a cheap apartment carpet stain-nursery, mosquitoes, homework, and that social realist bronze statue commemorating the family as the cornerstone of successful enterprise: none of these fair delights compare with the land of meditation I drift off to during a good lunch. Well, it’s good to be back in school. It’s good to break college bread like a Ramen ghetto superstar. As Jay-Z said, “Thirty’s the new twenty.” Time for dinner.