Playing with Fire

A college friend, in our stupid youth, once said, “I wish I had anorexia so I’d be skinnier.” I echoed that misguided wish, although at that time, I had not once thought of my friend as fat. If anything, the verbalization of that longing should have initially (and solely) come from me having grown up a fat girl and having considered myself a fat girl even at times when my weight says otherwise.

We’ve grown up since then and while the desire to be Photoshop-pretty-and-fit-and-forever-young isn’t gone, other concerns have since cropped up that the desire is now a muted voice at the back of my head.

The grand lifestyle that’s afforded the tributes in the book series The Hunger Games has me thinking of the pleasure that might be culled from it. On the one hand, those who get to initially enjoy that life are doomed to playing the Hunger Games, which is as good as having been sentenced to death at a young age. On the other, food!

The supper comes in courses. A thick carrot soup, green salad, lamb chops and mashed potatoes, cheese and fruit, a chocolate cake. Throughout the meal, Effie Trinket keeps reminding us to save space because there’s more to come. But I’m stuffing myself because I’ve never had food like this, so good and so much, and because probably the best thing I can do between now and the Games is put on a few pounds. (from The Hunger Games)

A few years ago, another friend treated me to a buffet dinner in a five-star hotel. Having been used to fast food and some mid-range buffet serving mostly Filipino dishes, I was in awe of the feast before my eyes. I crammed everything I could on my plate, mixing the sweet with the sour, the light dishes with the dark ones, everything and anything.

buffet plate

Despite the overwhelming desire to make the most of this international buffet experience, it was a lost cause because halfway into my messy plate, I was already battling with my insides, and from then on, I ventured on a halfhearted crusade into the rest of the mess. I might have managed a perfunctory second serving but by that time, the feast before me looked considerably less delectable.

I’m currently re-reading Catching Fire, the second book in the trilogy, to remind myself of how Hollywood might change a perfectly good story to suit its purposes.

But the real star of the evening is the food. Tables laden with delicacies line the walls. Everything you can think of, and things you have never dreamed of, lie in wait. Whole roasted cows and pigs and goats still turning on spits. Huge platters of fowl stuffed with savory fruits and nuts. Ocean creatures drizzled in sauces or begging to be dipped in spicy concoctions. Countless cheeses, breads, vegetables, sweets, waterfalls of wine, and streams of spirits that flicker with flames.

My appetite has returned with my desire to fight back. After weeks of feeling too worried to eat, I’m famished.

“I want to taste everything in the room,” I tell Peeta. (from Catching Fire)

Catching Fire

So would I, but like me, Katniss ends up filling up on the first few dishes she sees and picking on the next ones. The Capitol guys offer her a tiny stemmed wineglass filled with clear liquid that will make her puke to make room in her stomach for other food. (I guess this relates to my anorexic anecdote in the first paragraph.) The sarcasm is so subtle that the fact that Hollywood, with its stick figures with eating disorders, is making its version of this story is so great an irony. True readers don’t really need their imagination aided by moving pictures, but this is to bring in the non-readers, too, not to get them to read but to get them to purchase non-book merchandise spawned by this popular trilogy.

I’ve always been Teem Peeta.

As for me, I’ll wait to see how they present all that food. Fitting title. I’m hungry now.

P.S. And just like in the movies, before I finished writing this post, I was invited to lunch by yet another friend. (Am I not the friendliest girl on earth?)


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