I lied. “Make A Scene” was not my oldest draft. This one is. Two years and some change ago. There was not much to exhume, a mere sentence and a half. Peculiarly, I do remember where I was going with this one. Perhaps because it’s tied in with music, and music often sticks with me.
This post was inspired by listening to Photon Pitch on WZBC. I got hooked into the set by an angular, danceable, drum machine driven, DeBarge-y sounding cut that was either genuinely 80s or convincingly retro. I was driving and don’t remember what I eventually found out that song was…but it was followed by “Midnight Lover” by Kisses. Which has an oft-repeated lyric that I borrowed for the title of this post.
The collision of the lyrics and the retro sounds made me think about food “values.” Specifically, how once upon a time “A nice steak dinner” was meant to indicate the personal wealth of a man, and a woman’s acceptance of the invitation was meant to reveal both her animal appetites and her desire for the man’s wealth.
These days steak is still an option for impressing your special someone, but the most expensive restaurant in this town is a sushi joint. And much of what the price tag of fancy meals indicates these days is food pedigree, and the level of service you’re getting:
“Tonight we have Reisling massaged, heirloom, named after some obscure American folk figure, well-known vegetable but a variety you’ve never heard of, grown on name-drop local hipster’s two foot by two foot patio microfarm, which is visible out the back kitchen door, and the only place on the planet where this incredibly normal but obscure thing is grown. Here’s one and a half of them bon appetit. Wait! Let me pour you a different wine to pair with that bite!”
I jest. But high-end dining is different than it was in the decade the songs above are trying to sound like. Local, organic, and precious lead the day more than mere marbling and cooked to order.
It also crossed my mind that today if you asked anyone out for a nice steak dinner you would need to ask them if they were a vegetarian for first. And be prepared for some questions about, grass-fed, factory farms, and that whole local thing again.
Me? I actually don’t like steak. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an eater. I’ll do a large pork chop, ribs, half chicken, rack of lamb. I just don’t love steak except in its junior iterations like skirt. And with eggs. In the morning. So if you’re going to take me out for steak, it will have to be a nice steak breakfast, and, well, that’s just presumptuous. So how about some Tosci’s and a show instead?