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Eating exposed Add to ...

S.H.: No, it's not always and that's a good point. Now I'm picturing dropping eight grapes into his mouth, one after another.

S.R.: When you're eating a beautiful ripe peach, no matter how many napkins you have, you have to lick your fingers. I always feel so embarrassed, but at the same time, that's the joy of the peach.

S.H.: I have to say that when I eat a really ripe peach, even if I'm in my house, I cut it in slices.

S.R.: I think Sarah's a little uptight.

So what's your limit?

S.H.: Corn on the cob. To me it's a nightmare. If somebody says we're having corn and whatever, steak, I think, oh great, butter on my fingers, you have to gnaw at it, you feel like you're attacking it. You should only eat corn on the cob alone - and brush your teeth after.

B.C.: I guess for me it would be soup.

S.H.: You wouldn't eat soup in public?

B.C.: No, I wouldn't eat soup in public.

S.H.: I wouldn't eat spaghetti even if I were in a sundress.

S.R.: When they were talking about changing the regulations in Ontario for what can be sold as street food, the Health Minister was saying, "Goodbye hot dogs, hello salad," and all I could think of was salad? That seems very messy, almost spaghetti-like.

S.H.: So if they open the floodgates for street food, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

S.R.: I think it's a good thing. I think it's exciting and it provides variety.

S.H.: But isn't that a symptom of how rushed our culture is, to have more street food? Isn't street food there to begin with just because we don't have time to take an hour to sit down in a restaurant? It suggests where our culture is headed that we've less time to step outside of the fray.

B.C.: Yes, but doctors these days are recommending eating 42 small meals a day instead of the three square ones of our past, and that implies eating a few dozen of them on the run.

Local options, local ethics

B.C.: I remember being at a Formula One race in Indianapolis a year ago, and the iconic local food there is barbecued turkey legs. But these are mid-Western turkeys - the legs are Flintstone-sized, probably the size of a Buick transmission case ...

S.H.: You're such a guy!

B.C.: And the only size beer you could get in the stands was a one-litre Fosters. So here I was with a litre-sized can of beer in one hand and a turkey drumstick the size of a Buick transmission case in the other, and it was quite an absurd - but fun - experience. Nobody seemed to bat an eye, of course, because every second person was doing it.

S.H.: I think we're seeing that there are good and bad things to the notion of food in the public realm, and examples of what decorum there should or shouldn't be for oneself and for those around us. It's very much a thing of our times. It used to be that eating was something you did behind closed doors, wasn't it?

B.C.: I think we ought to celebrate eating in public.

S.H.: I do think there's a certain vulnerability we exude when we're eating in public and the ketchup is dripping down the side of our chin. There is something very human about it.

S.R.: And it's a bit of an icebreaker, too.

S.H.: Eating allows us to show just how frail we are as human beings - ketchup can drop on your Gucci blouse!

B.C.: And as somebody who tastes wine for a living and has to spit out a lot of wine, I would also recommend that when drinking or eating in public, wear dark clothing.

S.H.: Now I'm hungry.

S.R.: I'm going to go get a hot dog.

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