Last night, I read an essay in the latest edition of The Best American Essays. It was all about french cooking (esp. Julia Child), the writer's coming out as a lesbian, and her parents' marriage. At one point in the essay, Levy writes: "if you're not careful, you can forget that you ever hoped for something more than sustenance." The essay as a whole bothered me, but I found this sentence really annoying. What's so terrible about sustenance? Some of the best meals I've had, the most pleasurable meals, were those that provided basic sustenance. At the end of long backpacking days, I've had some amazing eating experiences with really terrible food--freeze-dried vegetables and powdery sauces. I eat oatmeal almost every morning. There's nothing spectacular about it--a food that's obviously more about sustenance than about pleasure. But it can still surprise me how good it tastes, how satisfying it can be day after day.