As someone who loves to cook, I will tell you that my most favorite thing of all is to cook for someone who loves to eat. Someone who, when you look at them, you can just tell is enjoying their food. The look of joy on their face, the “audible eating” sounds being made (the mmm’s and the oh’s), and sometimes even the speed with which they eat give away the pleasure they are experiencing.
Sometimes – depending on the food – I AM that person. But yesterday, I got to watch that person. Jeff and I went to Shakedown BBQ (I’ve previously written about Shakedown) with my mom and dad to celebrate Father’s Day. While we were there enjoying our food, I was seated so that I could see a table at which two brothers sat. Not too long after our food was delivered, their food was delivered too.
Creepy as it may be, I am a people watcher. I love to see what’s going on around me – especially in a restaurant. I love to peek at what other people ordered. From time to time I even like to listen in on other people’s conversations – perhaps I shouldn’t admit this; but if you’re being honest, you’ll admit it too.
The brothers both ordered sandwiches. I should take a moment to tell you that almost everything at Shakedown is Flintstone-sized. So when I tell you the sandwiches are big, I am not kidding. If I had to guess on the conservative side, I’d say the brother facing me had a sandwich that was a minimum of 5″ tall. But more than likely it was even taller than that.
Jeff commented to the tall-sandwich-brother, when he picked up the sandwich confidently to begin eating it, that he was a better man than Jeff – who had ordered a big sandwich and was using a knife and fork to help him eat it!
As I watched (I tried to be discreet) tall-sandwich-brother (whose name I now know to be Zack) eat his sandwich, I knew he was a kindred spirit. There was a look of pure joy on his face – even while there was barbecue sauce running down his arms. He didn’t care in the slightest that he was a mess – in fact, the mess may even have enhanced the whole experience for him. I thought for sure he would never finish the sandwich; but as he did I was smiling….thrilled for him that he had!
Just before I looked away, I saw him close his eyes, smile and sigh. Before he had a chance to clean his hands, I asked him if I could take his photo. I explained (hopefully not sounding like too much of a stalker) that I appreciated the gusto with which he delighted in his meal and wanted to share it on my blog.
Zack agreed to have his photo taken….so, here’s to you, Zack! Thanks for being real and letting other people see you enjoy your food! In my opinion, it was quite a compliment to Chris, the owner of Shakedown, for Zack to unabashedly devour his meal.
Confucius reminded us, “Wheresoever you go go with all your heart.” Please, please listen. Love with abandon. Laugh excessively. And eat, like Zack, with gusto!