Fact: Eating food and drinking alcohol are two of the joys — some would even call one or both necessities — of personhood. Another fact: my job at the Stranger involves being paid to do these things, as the paper's restaurant (and sometimes bar) reviewer. (Before you're all, THAT IS THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD, which it is, please understand that I am also the managing editor, which involves sundry matters related to making the paper come out every week, herding the catlike editorial staff, etc. Luckily, this is also THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD. I've got two of them! But I digress.) Soooooo, in the writing of How to Be a Person, it fell to me to instruct those seeking personhood in the ways of food and drink. Would you like a taste? (SEE WHAT I DID THERE!!! Sorry about that. Onward.)
• How to Be a Person hates the word foodie: "You are NOT a foodie — you are merely a person who has a modicum of knowledge about, and enjoys a variety of, different foods... Where should you begin? Eat food!"
• How to Be a Person tips well: "Always tip 20 percent when you eat in a restaurant, unless the server literally tells you to fuck off. Then you tip 10 percent. This is not a joke; servers work hard, and your tip is a large part of their pay — in some restaurants, it's all they get paid. Tip well or stay home."
• How to Be a Person tells you in normal-human terms how to make: very tasty pasta, the world's best macaroni and cheese (with a monogram on it!), an impressive entire roasted chicken, your own goddamn coffee... and more!
• How to Be a Person discusses binge drinking — which is not a great idea, but persons will do what persons will do — and being safe if you go down that sloshy road.
• How to Be a Person similarly offers guidance should one need to vomit.
•How to Be a Person contains the best possible advice for the hungover, including some from historical experts: "British novelist Kingsley Amis maintained that a hangover could be helped by either (1) a half-hour flight in an open-air plane or (2) vigorous sex. If you have the opportunity for either (or both), you should clearly take it — though he rightfully cautions against option 2 'if you are in bed with somebody you should not be in bed with, and have in the least degree a bad conscience about this.'"
• How to Be a Person directs would-be people in how to drink like an adult, e.g.: "Drinking is the accompaniment to another activity, such as conversation or eating; drinking is not an activity unto itself. Do not say or do things that are dramatically different from the things you would say or do while not drinking. Do not cause difficulty for others due to your drinking, and do not let your drinking cause difficulties for you. The only rules of adult drinking are more like guidelines, and they are ones that also apply to life as a whole: Don't get too complicated about it, and don't be an asshole."
Plus, as they say, much, much more. Please enjoy!
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Bethany Jean Clement — the Stranger’s restaurant reviewer (and managing editor) — eats food. Her work has appeared in the Best Food Writing anthologies, Food & Wine, Town & Country, Gourmet.com, Beard House, the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co., and elsewhere.
Books mentioned in this post
Bethany Jean Clement is the author of How to Be a Person: The Stranger's Guide to College, Sex, Intoxicants, Tacos, and Life Itself