So the Simpsons reached episode 500 on Sunday, which calls for more than a small celebration, and if the Simpsons no longer holds the central place in the culture it once did, well what the heck does? We were having small bets here at Psycho-Acres about who the show’s guest stars would be – my money was on Lady Gaga – oh me of little faith. It was so much better than that. It was Julian Assange of Wikileaks fame.
It’s hard to imagine that Assange is much of a foodie, though the story goes that when he was in the middle of writing his autobiography for Canongate he talked about writing a whole series of books including a cookbook. The mind reels.
Sunday’s LA Times ran an interview with Matt Groening, conducted in “a Oaxacan restaurant south of Hollywood not far from where he lived in the days before the series made him an international household name.” Well, “south of Hollywood” is a pretty vague description and I certainly don’t know where Groening lived in his pre-household name phase, but I did know, and this interview repeated, that he used to eat at Astroburger on Melrose Avenue.
In the interview he says, "I had this vague idea of invading pop culture. I remember hanging out, just down this street, in Astro Burger with, Gary Panter and Byron Werner and scheming how to do it. Gary had written an art manifesto about it and Byron said, no, that we were sell outs, as we split a burger three ways." As you see, the question of whether Astro Burger is one word or two remains contested.
Anyway, if “this street” is to be taken literally then the restaurant has to be Antequera De Oaxaca, street parking, no alcohol, quiet noise level, according to yelp.com. Perhaps they’ll erect a small plaque, “Matt Groening ate here on the occasion of Simpsons 500.” Or not.
I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody somewhere is writing a Ph D on the Simpsons and food (Ph Ds seem to have been written about the Simpsons and all kinds of things) what with the doughnuts, Krusty Burger, the Gilded Truffle, the Frank Grimes lobster dinner, Lard Lad, the episode where Marge was a food blogger, “oh no she’s making him a sandwich,” and hundreds of other incidents.
And of course there’s the episode when Homer became food critic for the Springfield shopper, and he and Lisa went to the Springfield revolving restaurant, Sit-N-Rotate. In fact we’d seen the restaurant before in the episode when Seymour Skinner took Patty on a date there. Ah, seems like a million years ago.
Since Springfield can and does contain just about everything it’s hardly surprising that it contains a revolving restaurant, and as regular readers of this blog may know, we Psycho-Gourmets have a special fondness for restaurants and bars that revolve. Yes, yes, I know, all restaurants and bars revolve if you stay there drinking long enough.
And it seems that Matt Groening may be a fellow enthusiast. Here he is again in that LA Times interview. "Once at Fox 20 years ago, they asked, 'What would you like to see? We'll do anything.' I said, 'Well, how about a 600-foot-tall statue of Homer Simpson in West L.A., and at midnight he tilts his head back and laughs uproariously all over Los Angeles?' And you could eat lunch in his head, which would turn 360 degrees. They said, 'Be more realistic.'”
A cartoon show that runs for 500 episodes – now that’s what you might call unrealistic.
Now I’m not absolutely certain that Matt Groening’s a foodie, but there’s some circumstantial evidence here. Ferran Adria’s forthcoming book El Bulli: Food for Thought, Thought for Food has a cover image drawn by Matt Groening. That’s got to be good for a few free appetizers, though not at El Bulli, alas.