Mac-n-Cheese

Our second stop for Nina’s birthday dinner is a possibly overrated and definitely overcrowded bakery in the Mission.  It’s a chilly Sunday twilight though, so we manage to find sitting at a communal table for all six of us together.  Somebody mentions this new chocolate place in Palo Alto.  Somebody mentions that new mac-n-cheese place in Oakland.  St John speculates that with this trend for highly specialized places, soon there will be a place that serves absolutely nothing, and it will be immensely popular.  He is positively incredulous that a place that serves mac-n-cheese, not even so great a food substance, would enjoy any popularity.

“I don’t know,” I say, “With comfort foods, it’s more about how you grew up, I think, not so much about rationality or how good it is.  For instance, I don’t drink milk, but I never really liked it anyway, so I can’t understand why people are so up in arms about having milk with their cereal.  Rationally speaking, it’s too much trouble getting the milk – not worth it.  Everyone else must have grown up eating cereal with milk.”   “I’m sorry,”  St John interrupts, “How do you take your cereal?”  “Depends,” I respond, “Either straight from the bag, or, if I feel fancy, I might pour it into a bowl and eat it from there with a spoon.”  He is incredulous again: “What?  This is nonsense!  Next thing, we’ll be talking about people stabbing themselves in their own hands with knives!”  He illustrates that by gesturing with his long beautiful hands.  I open my left hand and show him the scar.  “You stabbed your hand with a knife?” – he asks.  “Mhm.”  “How did that happen?  Are you a gangster?”  “Well, let’s not go there.  I don’t really talk about this much.”  “You are a wonderful and fascinating lady, but you terrify me.”

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