The New York Times with the help of Barney's creative ambassador Simon Doonan has decided this week that your food can be gay or straight. Apparently, a "gay" food isn't just a potato that seeks marriage equality, reminds you it was born this way, or owns a summer share on Fire Island. According to Doonan, his new (satirical) book Gay Men Don't Get Fat and his interview with The Times today, gay food is lighter, brighter, more artistic, art-directed--food that you'd find where health and aesthetics intersect (and that's very different than what Doonan labels "lesbian food"--"Organic olive oil, thick porridge, heaping helpings of wheat germ," and its ilk). "I love sweeping generalizations,” Doonan told The Times. "Sweeping generalizations are the key to everything, and they invariably contain nuggets of truth. Sometimes infinitesimally small nuggets." We enjoyed Doonan's sweeping gay food generalizations so we put them to the unscientific, anecdotal test, assigned them a respective Kinsey rating and came up with your (completely unscientific) guide to the sexuality of food, from gayest to straightest:
What it is: Sushi; Sashimi; Crudo; Seafood Tartare; Ceviche
What Doonan Says: "Japanese food — that is some seriously gay food ... I’ve been to restaurants in Japan where they bring out a watermelon in its entirety and they open it up and inside it’s full of ice and one little pink piece of sushi in the middle. Basically, you’re taking sloppy bits of fish and making them into these exquisite little bonbons, and that seems inordinately gay to me."
What Kinsey Says: The Kinsey 6 is "exclusively homosexual"
What We Say: That sort of makes sense. You'd only eat this food in a restaurant serving an assortment Doonan's other gay foods, whether it's an appetizer at an Italian restaurant or a main at a Japanese restaurant--the place probably serves lighter, stylized fare on stunning, perhaps over-worked plates.
The Outlier: Spicy Mayo Anything Rolls; Supermarket Sushi; Any roll with more than three ingredients or one fried object
What it is: Macarons
What Doonan Says: "The macaron craze is the ne plus ultra of gay fooderie. I can’t believe any red-blooded straight guy can even walk into a macaron shop. If you wanted to ruin a politician’s career, just publish a picture of him shopping for macarons."
What Kinsey Says: The Kinsey 5 is "predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual"
What We Say: Though they look like colorful cheeseburgers, yes, all it takes is an "incidental" run-in with Cool Whip to ruin that gay credibility. But that little macaron shop Doonan's talking about wouldn't even carry the stuff.
The Outlier: Please don't confuse this with the 3-4 Kinsey-scoring Macaroon.
What it is: Black Bean Soup; Field Greens
What Doonan Says: Well, technically this was Doonan's meal at the interview at what Doonan called a bisexual restaurant. "Mr. Doonan, who was nattily dressed in a velvet Thom Browne blazer and a custom-made Liberty print shirt, opted for a plate of field greens followed by a bantam bowl of black bean soup. He dodged the glob of sour cream on top."
What Kinsey Says: The Kinsey 4 is "predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual"
What We Say: Clearly this isn't the first pairing between the black bean soup and the sour-cream pairing.
The Outlier: Black bean soup sans the sour cream; plain black beans
What it is: Paninis
What Doonan Says: "You must be on guard when you see a panini coming toward you, because they can cram an enormous amount of meat and cheese in there ... "
What Kinsey Says: The Kinsey 3 is "equally heterosexual and homosexual" or more simply, bisexual.
What We Say: Despite its fat content, Doonan mentions that Caesar salad and certain pies may tilt more gay than you'd think. The same goes for the panini and judging by his knowledge of their secrets, Doonan seems to possess a panini-ordering expertise. There are novelty machines made especially for panini-making and grilling and it certainly has more flair than a ham and cheese on wheat bread--Doonan refers to wheat bread as "ferociously lesbian and wildly heterosexual"--but all the hidden meats and cheese certainly make this food an equal straddler of gay-straight line.
The Outlier: Secretly fat paninis; Artisanal Paninis (Prosciutto/fig; Pesto anything, etc.)
What it is: Meatloaf
What Doonan Says: "We have Black Angus meatloaf — that’s the Burt Reynolds of foods ... Because the Black Angus meatloaf, that’s a whole lot of hetero to digest."
What Kinsey Says: The Kinsey 2 is "predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual"
What We Say: The Times writer concedes that although the meatloaf is unrelentingly heterosexual, non-potato-based sides like a salad substitute can go a long way in tempering the Burt Reynolds-ness of this dish.
The Outlier: Turkey Meatloaf; Vegetarian Meatloaf
What it is: Chips and guacamole; Any avocado anything
What Doonan Says: "There’s a lethal amount of fat in guacamole ... A friend of mine was just going off to Mexico, and I said to her: ‘If you get kidnapped, remember to tell your kidnappers: no guacamole. You cannot be in a confined space ingesting guacamole. You’ll become so enormous.’"
What Kinsey Says: The Kinsey 1 is "predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual"
What We Say: Doonan explains that baked chips are inherently gay ... but who's taking the time to pick out baked chips when there's a mound of irresistible guacamole staring at you?
The Outlier: Baked chips
What it is: Burritos; Cheeseburgers; Steak; Cheeseburgers topped with avocado or guacamole
What Doonan Says: "I have a lot of straight friends,” he said. “And a lot of them are a very different shape. The word ‘burly’ springs to mind. And that’s a function of eating too many meatloafs, too many steaks, too many jumbo burritos."
What Kinsey Says: The Kinsey 0 is "exclusively heterosexual."
What We Say: Burritos are the clearly the hate crime of the gay food world and bring together Doonan's unholy trinity of meat, cheese, and avocado (along with that dodge-worthy sour cream). Then again, we've seen that combination on cheeseburgers (though the article doesn't mention that).
The Outlier: There doesn't appear to be one.
*This guide doesn't take into account the Kinsey X- asexuality, which would be of course, no food at all or some boring pictures of ice water.
Photos by flickr users: Ulterior Epicure, Barron, Sarmale/O.,Sandro, sweetbeetandgreenbean, Dalboz17,crd!, @jozjozjoz, and mezzoblue