Seasonal living and the sensual, sensate life.

Go Ahead: Be a Whore

Pasta alla Puttanesca

When asked recently to identify my personality by food, inexplicably, I blurted out “puttanesca.” I wasn’t talking to a group of friends, but a group of college students, so the indelicacy and borderline inappropriateness of my remark was obvious.  In this case, the students, who were accompanying me on a field trip, took the revelation in stride and simply sniggered.  For a brief moment, I was that funny someone-about-my-mom’s-age woman (who most definitely doesn’t have sex) instead of their professor. 

The magnificent Sophia Loren


It’s not that I think I’m “a la whore,” though the comparison makes me laugh out loud because l must confess to a jolt of pleasure whenever I manage to shock the audience at hand.  In the end, the reason I uttered the word as emblematic of my personality has to do the fact that I like spontaneity and, ask anyone who knows me, I don’t do anything by halves.  And that’s the thing about puttanesca:  you can make it in ten or twenty minutes, and the flavors are big and bold and in your face.    

When I imagine a Roman whore, I must confess I picture someone sexy like Sophia Loren as Mara in Vittorio Di Seca’s Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.And when I say I want to cook like a whore, what I mean is that I want the ability to try many things, to change my mood (and my food) at a moment’s notice.  I want to put on a display, to be a little saucy, and to be turned on by what is on my palate and my plate. 

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Being a whore means giving yourself to the pleasure of the meal.  How many times have you let yourself be immersed in flavors? What was your last memorable food experience? Can you recall the briny flavor of shrimp on the Po’Boy you ate on the Gulf of Mexico, watching the chocolate waters churn?  Or how the last of the season’s tart apples offset the earthiness of the Gorgonzola on the grilled pizza you ate al fresco with friends on the last warm day in November before winter set in?  Pleasure has context and so the scrambled eggs the city dwelling boyfriend made me a few weeks ago at his house were amazing simply because he cooked them for me. Think about memorable meals you ate camping or with someone you hadn’t seen in a long time, and you’ll know what I mean.

In the end, what I am saying is that we must slow down enough to enjoy food as a sensual, sensate part of our lives. Let’s go beyond nourishment to pleasure. Let’s pick fun and creativity and sexy costume changes.


Being a whore in the kitchen also means being bold and risky:  For Thanksgiving, try the Turducken or brine the turkey for a change; it’s okay to stray from your great great grandmother’s recipe when, let’s face it, people ate squirrel.  And while being a whore doesn’t necessarily mean making a big production (though those are fun, too), it does mean putting food first. Last night, when I got home late with a week’s worth of groceries and I was rushing to make my 9 o’clock phone date with Greg, I put the cold stuff away and left canned goods, apples, and potatoes in their bags so I’d have the time to butterfly and cut up the lovely boned quarter leg of lamb I got for a steal and drizzle it with olive oil, smashed garlic, rosemary, and kosher salt.  Tonight I will skewer the lamb and grill it, along with asparagus spears.  Simple.  And very very sexy. 

And even though I will be dining by myself, I will open a Pinot Noir, and eat everything with my fingers, enjoying the succulent texture and juice of rare lamb  in my mouth, and the saltiness of al dente asparagus dipped in olive oil.

Later, I will stream De Sica’s film and pretend I’m in Rome.



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