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March 26, 2009 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-03-26

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5 5 9

Where the kitchen and the closet collide

Just as fashion has its "haute
couture," food has its own
"haute nourriture." Both
share amore
humble culture
characterized
by discreet style
choices for fash-
ion or simple but
delectable mid-
night dishes for KARA
food. And going MORRIS
beyond the cul-
tural parallels, there are more con-

crete connections between food and
fashion on campus. But first, let's
explore the intangible characteris-
tics that relate the two cultures.
Fashion doesn't have to be
haute couture. It doesn't have to
be designer names or expensive
watches, and it doesn't have to
make you feel like you're not cool
enough to write about it. You might
have heard: Fashion is a means of
self-expression.
Sure, you'll find those students
who actually wear those quirky,

straight-off-the-high-fashion-run-
way outfits. Others dress unyield-
ingly to their stereotype - hipster,
conservative, punk, prep - or just
pick up on current trends.
Consider black nail polish.
Before its recent rise to style, it was
worn as an act of rebellion. One
might even say that it was in its tru-
est form of self-expression before
everyone started wearing it.
But some don't pay attention
to clothing choices at all. Plenty
of people are content with an

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unkempt mane, jeans and a sweat-
shirt - the my-work-is-more-
important-than-my-style look.
Regardless of whether you're actu-
ally trying to say something, you're
still making a statement. Even
though you may not have heard of
Dior or Yves saint Laurent, when
you dress yourself, you express
yourself-- and that is fashion.
Like fashion, food also has an
expensive side. Why is caviar so
revered? Is it really that delectable?
No. It's expensive and wild and
showy, just like some elements of
high fashion. Though you might
enjoy celebrating the high points
of food, you don't need to eat some
gourmet chef's two seared scal-
lops with a grass blade garnish for
dinner to be satisfied.
Good food doesn't have to be
fancy or daunting. A simple pasta
carbonara dish with freshly grated
Parmesan cheese and enough
warm bacon bits will satisfy you
and your roommates on a late Sat-
urday night. Even Gourmet maga-
zine, a Cond6 Nast publication
that features "haute nourriture,"
has found its humble roots in its
fervor for food politics and in W.
Hodding Carter's "Extreme Fru-
gality" series.
So that was the intangible con-
nection - but how and when do
food and self-expression literally
collide on campus? Just take a
look at Ann Arbor's party scene.
I've always thought that the best
parties are those that involve food
and require guests to arrive in cos-

tume, threatening dire consequenc-
es for those who don't. We have
our highlighter, toga, foam and
stoplight parties, as well as our food
gatherings: tailgates, barbecues and
dinner parties. Every so often these
events blissfully combine into a
costume-food party.
One of my favorite parties was a
friend's autumn "lumberjacks and
flapjacks" party. Attendees donned
flannel shirts and construction
paper axes and consumed pancakes
alongside their warm spiced cider
drinks. Guests explored their lum-
berjack alter ego through costume
and further expressed themselves
by getting into character. The party
was thrown by a friend of mine who
enjoys the intricacies of good food,
but who also revels in the pleasure
of sharing more simplistic foods
with friends.
Another party that invited
friends in costume for a bite to eat
Dressed to
digest.
was a white-trash deer roast put
on by a house of Men's Glee Club
members and a neighboring house
of students who enjoyed hunting.
The food of the hour, venison, was
wild and maybe slightly showy,
but it was meant to be shared and
enjoyed.
For the ultimate mix of food
and fashion, I recommend a
food-costume party of your
own. Scrap your "everything but
clothes" party for an "anything
as long as it's food" event. Think
of the Hershey's challenge from
"Project Runway," where contes-
tants visited the Hershey's store
in Times Square and had to dress
their models in candy wrappers
and Twizzlers. I once dressed up
as "Princess Lolly" from Candy-
land, and glued oven-flattened
lollipops to a homemade dress.
Although I brought extra lol-
lipops for hungry partygoers,
a friend still took a bite out of
ny candy crown. So watch out
for that: Don't make your outfit
too delectable or you may walk
home wearing a lot less than you
arrived in.
Morris made a dress entirely
out of roasted ham hocks and
gelatin. If you want a bite, e-mail
her at karamomo@umich.edu.

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