I ran to the row of bright yellow machines perched in a dark corner of the subway station last night, credit card in hand, bouncing with awkwardly spaced skips through the crowded muddle of people. I was attempting to buy a metro card with unflappingly focused speed before the F train blew in on the track below me. I had just finished an educational but intensely busy day interning at an art magazine. It was late and I was so hungry that the thought of eating even my own arm was somewhat appealing. Unfortunately (fortunately?) I had on a bulky jacket and I could not reach the tender arm-flesh through my layers of winter cloth.
I made a beeline to the first ticket machine available in the row, sidestepping around a woman in a large, fuzzy black coat. She was grabbing her own yellow ticket out of the dispenser and turning quickly around in a jump to her own train; we could hear it vibrating on the track down below. I moved quickly aside, unreasonably annoyed that her physical presence could dare to possibly be in my way. I looked at her, radiating a frustrated vibe of overtired grumpiness (in what I like to imagine is a magnificently wilting, terrifying gaze) but immediately recoiled in surprise. I recognized this woman. It was Sara Moulton, executive chef of Gourmet Magazine and star of her Food Network show “Sara’s Secrets”.
In my post-accident, pre-New York and unemployed series of states, I have spent many an hour watching her on TV as she tames the seeming complexities of risotto or beef bourguignon. She has always struck me as a deliciously real person; never with the narcissistic, showy makings of a ‘celebrity chef’. Someone I could relate to as well as respect. Granted, I don’t think I’ve ever attempted one of her Food Network recipes myself, but those in Gourmet Magazine have been often well used and received. Instead of a manic recipe guru and larger-than-life cooking fiend (as I may or may not categorize other well-known chefs) I think I have viewed her more as (dare I say it?) a friend.
And so I was somewhat shocked last night when I found myself attempting to kill Sara Moulton with the death-rays of my gaze. She hardly even glanced at me, though, and certainly did not consciously register my presence. She ran quickly off to her train. We can all breath a sigh of relief; I didn’t kill Sara Moulton. I didn’t eat my own arm either. Overall, it was a largely productive evening.