In the movie, “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” Julia Roberts plays a food critic who sets out to disrupt her best friend’s wedding plans. When trying to explain why she doesn’t think the two people are right for each other, she uses the analogy of food. She describes the potential bride (played by Cameron Diaz) as creme brulee (a rich, custard/caramel dessert), and suggests what her best friend really desires is Jello. “I can be Jello!” Diaz insists. Even without knowing about the character Diaz plays, I suspect you can see the impossibility of Diaz playing Jello. The way she looks, her personality — she has too much presence and individuality to be Jello.
The idea of comparing people to food is interesting, and you don’t have to be a food critic to play this game. Of course, there are a lot of variables that will change how people approach it. Knowing a lot about food will give you a wider choice. There are also the variables of ethnic and dominant culture, socioeconomic status (SES), regional considerations, vegetarian versus omnivore, organic versus junk food, et cetera. I don’t know the names of various receipes, but I can picture them and their ingredients. John Cusak would be something with an organic brown rice base and vegetable mix, with something esoteric and possibly dangerous on the side, like puffer fish. Catherine Zeta-Jones would be something like a spring vegetable pasta, with a light, cream sauce flavored with herbs and red pepper flakes (spicy, filling, delicious, classy). How would you picture these people as food? Would you think in terms of main dishes, sides, appetizers, or desserts? Who immediately comes to mind when you play this game? Do you think of the people first, or the food first and then search for people to match?
Of course, this is how we see others, and is based on their public personna. I wonder if their private personnas would match? How about your private personna? How do you see yourself? Back about 20 years ago, when I realized I wasn’t going to accomplish many of the youthful ambitions of my teen years, I realized I was going to be oatmeal. Oatmeal can be tasty and healthy (especially with additions, like walnuts, ground flax seeds, cinnamon, and tumeric), but it’s not generally something people write about, rave to their friends about, or make movies about. It’s basic, and something a person could live on. Think about it . . . would you really WANT to live on a truly decadent, rich chocolate cake every day? As your only food? So I decided being oatmeal wasn’t all that bad a thing. It helped me put my life in perspective.
How do you see yourself? Which food are you?