We’ve come a long way. Tomorrow, the big dogs of the food world are setting up shop in Nashville for a two-day, all-celebrity food fest. Giada De Laurentiis, Michael Symon, Tim Love, Jonathon Waxman, Aaron Sanchez, John Besh…they’re joining local chefs of note to educate, feed and commune with us. Oh, and that horrid lady from Food and Wine, which dissed Nashville for those stupid meat and three remarks. I do not know how she can show her face here.
So, of course I am going. Even though the ticket costs more than $200. And the fact that I will be gobbling down gourmet food for two days straight made me think about food in Nashville 20 years ago when we moved here. It was a dry and dusty town.
There was only one fish available to restaurants here 20 years ago. It was salmon. Actually, I’m lying. It was salmon and catfish. Oh, you could get the fried shrimp at Captain D’s, but somehow that didn’t qualify as actual seafood. They were shaped funny.
My beloved meat and three’s, which Food and Wine found so disdainful, were plentiful and still are. But so much has happened since then. Somehow, Nashville grew up but stayed the same, a nice dichotomy. We have fancy food now. Happily, we don’t have very many fancy people. Even the fancy people who move here are attracted to Nashville because they don’t have to be fancy. I was telling my hairdresser today of the fancy people I have encountered over the years. Faith Hill and Tim McGraw at the Waffle House. Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman at the Starbucks. Trace Adkins at the Daily’s convenience store. The rule here is that you never recognize them and you never approach them.
Which is why I am having a sort of conundrum tonight. I can easily forgo running up to Tim McGraw and slobbering all over him. But food people are different. I make Giada’s lemon spaghetti on a regular basis. Does she want to know that? I feel certain that she does. Poor Tim Love’s restaurant in Forth Worth burned up a few weeks ago. Doesn’t he need a shoulder to cry on? I think he does. I’m sure Michael Symon wants to know that I believe the pork pie hat he’s wearing on The Chew is not his best look. Someone has to tell him.
And that lady from Food and Wine? She’s the editor, Dana Cowin. I follow her on Twitter and am insanely jealous that she eats cutting edge food every night and weighs a mere two pounds. When she hosts a discussion on which past food trends are finding their way back into the chef’s kitchen, I will be in the audience. I will be judging her but she will not know. Bless her heart.