Seeing Shakespeare performed out in the open, reclining on a blanket next to your loved one, an open bottle of wine split between the two of you, next to some fresh cheese and charcuterie. Truly the epitome of summer elegance.
Except to those of us who have to put up the fucking thing. We arrive much earlier in the day, when the sun is severely crushing your hopes and dreams with oppressive heat and nary a cloud in the sky. The wind doesn’t kick up until dusk, so we have to deal with mosquitoes and gnats and ants and more ants and holy hell the gnats and another mosquito and now I can’t eat the sandwich I brought for dinner because there’s ants everywhere and more ants and oh god the gnats and this is probably how I’m going to die.
We get sweaty. We get sunburnt. We get anxious about the show.
Then the show runs and everyone goes home–but not the crew. The crew has to coil wires. We have to store the lighting and sound board. We have to take down the speakers. We have to lock everything up on the chance that someone might want to steal Prospero’s staff. We stay nearly an hour after everyone has vacated to close up shop.
We leave the park close to midnight, using our cell phones for flashlights since we’ve shut down all the power and we are exhausted, hot, and incredibly smelly. Like…really smelly.
I haven’t eaten since lunch (because ants) and I haven’t had a chance to go grocery shopping since I’ve been in rehearsal for the show. And now it’s too late, there’s nothing open…
Well, there’s one thing open…
I pull up and am greeted by a stoned or tired employee. “Welcome to Taco Bell. Can I interest you in a mfmmrufmrmfurmf?” And the speaker cuts out. I skip the question and order a Steak Quesarito and a Crunchwrap Supreme. “Your total is mrmfufmr pull upmrrmruffurmrm.”
I pull up and decide the worker is both stoned and tired. After a short wait, I’m handed my meal in a brown sack and drive home where my cat is waiting and meowing loudly to remind me I’ve been gone all day.
I finally sit down. And take a bite of the Crunchwrap–with its weirdly cold lettuce on the hot ground beef and melted cheese. I take a bite of the Quesarito–with the luxurious extra tortilla layers with cheese and rice. Frankly it’s disgusting.
And it’s the best thing I’ve ever tasted in my life.
IN MY LIFE.
Food can be an adventure. It can be a comfort. But more important than the food itself, is what you bring to the table.
Your approach to food will define what you taste.
If you’re going on a culinary adventure, bring friends with a matching appetite and suddenly the craziest item on the menu becomes a story for you and the people you love.
If you’re tired and hungry and in need of comfort–then get that terrible junk food you always wanted that will fill you up–eat it curled up on a couch with a cold beer in hand and your purring cat next to you and you’ll find your own sort of peace.
Food is an experience. Who you are, who you share it with, and what you choose to eat all define the experience. Never forget that you are the secret ingredient in every meal.
Taco Bell: https://www.tacobell.com/
For a complete map of all locations featured in this blog, please follow this link: The Grand Appétit Map