The New York City Diet, By Mara L.

I’ve been invited by Jens Haas to join his blog as a guest writer, and, seeing some of his work on American food, I can only say, yes, this is where I want to write. American food—sorry, I do apologize for being a disgustingly generalizing and really quite arrogant Italian—is not particularly appealing. Indeed, it is not unheard of that people move back to the old world for culinary reasons (forget the nonsense they tell you about deeper friendships back home, friendships with pasta, that must be).

Copyright 2003 Jens Haas

I should say who I am: I am an architect, and friend of Jens. I’ve lived in northern Italy for most of my life, in London for some years (years of culinary suffering, of course), in Paris, and lately in Berlin. This is where I met Jens. Berlin, by the way, is not exactly a place of culinary delight either.

Before you move to New York, people tell you that the great things about New York are that
(1) it is not America,
(2) you get food from all over the world there.

(1) is probably true (whatever it means). Admittedly, I have become addicted to New York and do not plan to leave again, even if that means that I shall starve.

But (2) is the biggest lie you’ve ever been told in your life. Or, of course, all depends on interpretation. When people tell you (2), they imply that there is good food from all over the world. This is what makes it conceivable to you to move there. Truth be told, there is food from all over the world, but is it good?

Once you are here, you try to keep your spirits up. Isn’t it true that there are only 7 or 8 places in Europe where you *really* like shopping for food? Of course, you won’t find such extraordinary places in one week. This is a major research project, and one that takes true gourmet dedication. In this series, I’ll share my findings with you.

Coming up: Why Bad Food is Good for You.