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Feb 16, 2001 11:53 AM

"Cupid, Get Out of the Kitchen" William Grimes 2/14 Times article

  • r

I'd be interested in other Chowhounds’ opinions of the above February 14 Times article. Mr. Grimes states that for Valentine’s Day “Restaurateurs are in thrall to the very mistaken idea that food and sex enjoy an intimate relationship. In fact, they are nothing more than friends and maybe not much more than acquaintances…” blah blah.

Has Mr. Grimes no Romance in his heart or was this written tongue in cheek? Has he never feasted on a Grand Marnier soufflé straight from the kitchen into the boudoir? Has he never been fed a peeled grape or fresh fig? Where is the man’s soul? Way back when, even Adam accepted Eve’s juicy apple (“Well, look what happened to them,” Mr. Grimes might reply). IMO, imagination, food, romance and love are all connected and move way past steak and potatoes. I really can’t believe he wrote this article in a serious vein and would be interested in your comments or Mr. Grimes’ comments if he reads this post. Thanks, Ruby

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  1. I think he enjoys pushing people's buttons, and I for one think it's pretty amusing.

    The "Just say no to comfort food" article elicited a similar response. He's trying to reframe discussions about food from misty-eyed romantic cooings related to deep-seated memories about your lover and your mom to a more concrete conversation about what the food actually tastes like. From subjective to objective, if you will.

    8 Replies
    1. re: MU

      I LIKE the way Grimes writes,even when I'm disagreeing with him. In a recent review of Papillon, a French-style restaurant with an Irish chef, he snuck in a sly reference to James Joyce that was just delicious. He's notches above that self-conscious trendoid Adam Platt whom the supremely annoying NY Magazine has foisted off on us (although I really like Hal Rubenstein's writing, and have since he was at Details) and while I liked Ruth Reichl's book, I though that as a critic she could have done with a tad more discernment, something Grimes seems to possess in aces.

      1. re: Martha Gehan

        I was amused by the article. The bare fact is that while the act of eating and enjoying delicious food may be very sexy or romantic or special, ok, the consumption of a huge, rich meal is a terrible prelude to, well, modesty prevents.

        1. re: jen kalb
          niki michalakis

          grimes' style of writing is often a refreshing change from the mundane reviewers(past & present) but he is often a bit harsh-- he & other reviewers may be "experts" in the field of food and drink, but this is an OPINION. He may find a particular combination of spices appaling while you & I may delight in it.
          reviewing the service and the preparation is one thing, but he is often dismissing wonderful combinations of flavors.

          I hope he does read Chowhound -- reviewers are often unguided missiles for an establishment, and thought they can pump up the business they can also destroy it because so many people put too much faith into them (this goes for music, art, & movie reviewers as well)

          perhaps his cupid review was meant to be tounge in cheek but those of us who delight in flavors, textures and presentation know that there is something ..very... sensuous about eating.

          1. re: niki michalakis

            Because I started the l-o-n-g thread about Grimes's stupid comfort food piece, I thought I'd let someone else start up the Cupid in the Kitchen piece.

            I thought it was sheer drivel. Grimes even managed to ignore one of the best food movies ever made, BABETTE'S FEAST, and that sent Isak Dinesen spinning in her frozen grave.

            Eating and sex are OBVIOUSLY commingled because both activities (a) often involve the use of the same senses; (b) often involve the use of the mouth; (c) often produce feelings of intense pleasure; (d) sometimes make one (or more) break out into a cold sweat; (e) sometimes make one (or more) moan; (f) both activities may be written about, recorded, filmed, painted; (g) both activities are susceptible (for want of a better word) to music; (h) both activities make life worth living. I COULD go on, but this is a PG-13 site, right?

            There are writers with whom one REALLY connects, and writers with whom one REALLY does not. I have never been able to connect with Grimes, and I can't help feeling that it's not my fault. He's supposed to be very, very nice, but he writes like a big old sourpuss, jaded and snooty and NOT someone you'd ever want to have over for dinner! As for tongue-in-cheek, the man's incapable!

            Actually, my favorite restaurant critic right now is Jonathan Gold (former LA TIMES, now at GOURMET, lurks delightfully at Now THAT'S evocative writing!

            1. re: Tom Steele

              I agree with you regarding the sex/food thing Tom.

              Oh, and champange baths? Trust me. Don't try it. It burns like hell.

              1. re: bryan

                Although there can't possibly be a better capper to this conversation than Bryans post, I'm adding my two cents:

                I was grateful to Chowhound Grimes for coming out and saying it. I mean, really! Good food should get UNDIVIDED attention. And to suggest that caviar might be improved by throwing a naked woman into the mix is a slap in the face of caviar.

                This article secured his place as my hero. Naturally Jim Leff is up there, too.

              2. re: Tom Steele

                Thanks, Tom...I couldn't have said it better myself. I just didn't "get" this article although many Chowhounds are amused by Mr. Grimes' articles. Maybe I don't get it because I'm in a very new relationship and I do equate food and Cupid so IMO, Mr. Grimes, "Get out of the kitchen and get some Romance."

                1. re: Ruby

                  I AGREE with what Tom said about the nexus between food and sex. As I said, I just like the way Grimes writes, even when I don't agree with him. And I hardly think anyone with the slyly wicked sense of humor he has can be accused of being stodgy. FWIW, MFK Fisher, in describing her ideal dinner party guests,wrote that she would not invite the newly in love because they are so besotted with each other that they do not pay sufficient attention to the food.

      2. I only occasionally read William Grimes's articles, but I must admit I got a kick out of the piece in question. I'm not completely cold-hearted, but I've always found the whole food/sex erotic thing to be a bit corny. A fantasy for Harlequin romance readers, maybe.

        Sadly, Grimes's prediction of a multi-course Valentine's dinner inducing "late-night television on the couch," hit a little too close to home for me. After eating ourselves silly at Churrascaria Plataforma (yeah, maybe not the most romantic of choices), my date and I found ourselves unable to move off the sofa. By 2am we still hadn't budged (and ironically?) "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover" happened to be what was on TV.

        A bathtub full of champagne and chocolate body paint for V-Day 2002? Blech, an endless parade of meat wins hands down anyday!