Everyone around me is dressed to the nines. Is this what Parisian tea rooms of old used to feel like?
There is an older woman sitting at the table across from me, her thick, gray hair flowing down past her elbows. She is wearing sleek, black trousers, a starched white blouse buttoned up to the collar, and a charcoal linen jacket. Her jewelry is heavy and wooden.
The place is packed and no one is getting served. Considering that this is one of the rare times that most of these people will allow themselves to eat cake, the ambiance is a bit tense. I flag down a server and order mint tea and Greek yogurt with homemade granola. When she comes back a few minutes later to tell me they’re out of yogurt, I hesitate for half a second before requesting the last piece of Rose Cake in the display case. She serves it up to me immediately and I sheepishly begin to take pictures.
The line at the to-go counter is growing. Everyone is on their phone. Most are encumbered by heavy, orange shopping bags, filled with clothes and accessories worth a small country’s fortune. They want their cheesecake-marbled brownies and they want them now.
A woman next to the window takes selfies as her boyfriend watches, looking bored. Her makeup is thick and her clothes are oversized and monochromatic. A model? No, most models can’t be arsed to look so good on their days off. She takes a bite of her yogurt (so that’s where it went). Her boyfriend
rolls his eyes watches me as I stand and take pictures of the Rose Bakery logo.
I start to write about how, although this place isn’t what it used to be, it doesn’t matter after my first bite, etc., etc. But I struggle so much to write about food in a way that doesn’t smack of silliness. Note the ridiculous photo captions, which I have left up as an example.
Food writing, I’ve decided, is like writing a sex scene in a romance novel. The more variety you try to add, the more rich vocabulary you use, the more artificial and comical it feels. I guess both food and sex are better either in person or in your imagination.