How the Wonka Kids Do Money: Augustus Gloop

Photo by Stefan Johnson on Unsplash.

From the Dusselheim Post, translated into English:

My dear readers! As I am the Post’s newest food critic at large — a title that, you will note, reflects my physique — I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and share my philosophies on what makes a dining experience truly great.

Let’s start with that single word: share. I am a great admirer of The New York Times’ Frank Bruni, whose style I hope I will not inadvertently copy, and his theory that people are either food hoarders or food sharers. I began my life as a food hoarder, reaching out to grab every best bite for myself. When I was a child, after an appearance on what you might call an untelevised reality show, I came into possession of a lifetime supply of chocolate, divided and delivered annually in an immense truck. Though it was more chocolate than even a fat young boy could eat, and though I was allowed to order more if I consumed my supply, I did not share a single bar that first year. Not even with my family.

I have, since then, grown up. Today I believe that food is best enjoyed in the company of others, and that is how I plan to conduct myself as critic: evaluating not only the dishes themselves, but also the way in which the dining establishment encourages communal experience. Are the chairs comfortable? Is the lighting too dark, or the music too loud? Does the menu encourage food hoarding, or does it invite people to share their meal in every aspect?

I understand that not everyone shares my opinion — if you’ll forgive the pun — but they have not, perhaps, shared my experience. People used to tell me that my love of food was my biggest flaw. It led to girth, gluttony, grotesquerie. They were wrong. Wanting to indulge a sweet tooth, or explore the world’s cuisines, is no mark of shame. Not wanting to share that pleasure with others, however, makes for a very lonely table. It took me many years to discover that I could enjoy a meal with friends as much as I could enjoy one on my own — and before I could do that, I had to accept my flawed self and its appetites.

Being comfortable in one’s own skin, as it turns out, makes it easier to be comfortable with other people. I have since become a sharer in all aspects of my life: I am a deacon at my church, I volunteer at my daughters’ school, and Post readers might remember that I played the Ghost of Christmas Present in last year’s Dusselheim Players’ production of A Christmas Carol. These volunteer positions — which include my current role as food critic — take time and in some cases personal income, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the hoarders are the ones who feel like they never have enough. Sharers understand that there is more than enough for everybody.

So let me share this opportunity as well. If you’d like to be a guest at my table as I review our local restaurants, please contact me through the Post’s website. I look forward to sharing many meals, and many columns, with all of you.

Previously: Veruca Salt.

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