Oysters on rocks, Karaka Bay, NZ
Pacific oysters, both whole and broken, pale and with jagged edges, cling to tidal rocks.
Like barnacles and limpets, oysters signify tenacity to me; holding firm against the elements, whether submerged or exposed to the sun.
The reward of eating the delicious molluscs comes with hard work in opening them, and risk of being cut in the process.
I have a love/hate relationship with the creatures – I love the taste and will eat them every which way, but have had my feet painfully slashed by their shells on a number of occasions whilst swimming at my favourite local spots.
They are just difficult, I suppose, as their own survival and life is difficult.
Hmm, I can think of some people I know like that….
Majestic Diner, Atlanta GA
You don’t come to this joint, or others like it, for the haute cuisine.
You might though if you’re hungry, famished even, need coffee (and lots of it), chat with a friend, or just hang out at any time of the day or night. And you can see your meal cooking on the grill in the kitchen before you get it.
The art deco neon signage in the top picture proclaims the simple pleasure of food.
The diner is described in utilitarian fashion on the internet thus: “Landmark diner serving classics including blue-plate specials & grits 24/7 since 1929”.
All day, every day, check.
And not just any grits. Buttered grits. That come with your eggs.
Cheese, too, in your “de luxe burger”. All kinds, as long as its American or Swiss, and you don’t mind that the Swiss sort is probably American too. If you’re eating the burger, you don’t mind, because you’re probably starving or just not that fussy.
It’s all splendidly functional, yet the old school diner revels in its own American history and mythology, as told in film, story and song. Tom Waits’s ‘Nighthawks At The Diner’ album and Suzanne Vega’s ‘Tom’s Diner’ are memorable examples of the latter.
Everyone needs to eat, and diners are non-denominational temples to food where the sacraments are served to the faithful, good, quick and hot.
Egalitarian, in that the rich and poor, the loved and the lonely, and those of every stripe in between, get the same service and can all chow down or sip coffee in proximity to each other, without anyone really giving a flying f**k about who you are or why you are there.
Food, and a vibe, that pleases…
Pictured: one really tiny temple, on a little rock outcrop, beside a small river of running water.
Spiritual harmony in miniature.
This is an Asian-styled water feature at the entrance to my favourite Vietmamese restaurant in Otahuhu, Auckland (which ,by the way, has a killer banh mi roll…to die for!)
The little water garden is by far the prettiest thing about the place, which is a very ordinary boxlike 1960s office remade into an eatery without too much actual remaking having gone on, with kleenex for napkins.
But you come for the warm welcome and some of the best cheap eats in town, gathered with your friends or family.
Call me shallow(as a water feature river), but that is the sort of spiritual harmony that I can relate to!