Today, on an all-new Let’s Get Real… “Sometimes…all I need is the air that I breathe…and a plain yogurt”. You know how we’re in an era of “everybody wins” and “it’s all about showing up” and nobody loses or gets picked last or gets any grades anymore, lest we damage their fragile egos? Well, add into that toxic mix a childhood full of overindulgence and incredible advantages and life lived in a bubble of extreme wealth and privilege…and you’ve got, well, you’ve got some pretty precocious, full of themselves kids. I only say this because I’ve been on a stretch of teaching those kids lately, and some have been great, and some have been nightmares. Kids today, at least the affluent, upper-middle class and upward ones, are very sophisticated about food, and that’s good. They’ll be the policy makers and chefs and doctors of my old age, so hopefully their interest and enthusiasm about food will help determine the future of food in the US. But because they’re sophisticated about food, they think they know-it-all about food. They watch Master Chef jr, and endless Food Network, and eat at way better restaurants than I ever do, and go on family trips to Michelin starred restaurants, and they must be getting their egos stroked so furiously in their private schools and at home that they can’t imagine that they’re wrong about anything. Especially food.

I’m only bringing this up because I want to talk about air. Yes, air. Hot air, puffed up air, air added to food. I’ve taught, in the last few months, two different girls who have both said to me, and I quote, ”oh, I make soufflés at home, ALL THE TIME!” Now I know teens are prone to hyperbole, I certainly was, I can’t believe some of the sh*t that came out of my mouth at 14 or 16, but seriously? Who are you talking to here? You make soufflés ALL THE TIME? Uh huh. Just. Shut. Up.

This occurred twice, whilst I was teaching the two different girls about whipping egg whites for a cake. Learning to whip egg whites in an important skill, we all should know how to bring egg whites to a soft peak and know when to stop whipping, but really, “ALL THE TIME”? I know I’m being a little silly, but seriously? No, you don’t, so just STFU. And then, while teaching a group of 11 year old boys a few weeks ago, one of them actually turned to me and said “ next month, we should do an ALL TRUFFLE menu”. STFU you, too. It’s like the mommies and daddies stuck their hot air pumps into their wee ones little tushies, and filled ‘em up with the same toxic gas that they’re full of. The same gas that caused the housing bubble and the tech bubble and the stock bubble we’re in now, and the sub-prime mortgage bubble…and now the overinflated child ego bubble. Is it wrong that I want to want to carry a pin around with me?

So all of this got me thinking about hot air. The parents of these kids are full of it, the kids are full of it, it seems everyone is full of it. Violent-bravado-spewing “entertainers”, sanctimonious GOP winners lying about working together with the president, law enforcement agents in Ferguson MO, fundamentalist anythings, maybe what’s causing global warming and climate change isn’t the overabundance of other greenhouse gasses in the air, maybe it’s all the CO2 we’re exhaling with our long hot streams of bullshit.

Ok, enough of that. I’ll calm down and get to the point. The point is, while land and fuel and water and housing and food and everything else seems to cost us money, air is still free. For now. For now, you can breathe as much air as you like, free of charge. It might not be clean, or fresh, but it’s free.

Chefs have used air forever as an ingredient in foods, what makes bread rise, puff pastry puff? Chicken skin brown? Air. Nothin’ but hot air. Maybe air is the originally Foodiness™ food? Who knows? Well you will, if you tune in.