『食客旅行』—旅した気分。旅したい気分。

しばらくすると、こんどは顔面と頭皮からの発汗が激しくなる。トウガラシが効いてきたのだ。汗ばかりでなく、目から涙が出、鼻からは洟汁が垂れてくる。そして最後には、全身の感覚が麻痺して、放心状態の中、下の上の旨味だけが抽出されて意識の表面を漂うようになる……。
これが、トムヤムクンの至福、である。


フランス、スペイン、香港、ロシア、インド、デンマーク、スイス…
ブラブラと世界を周り、地元の人が使う大衆食堂にひょいっと入っていく、”食客”の著者、玉村。たくさんの旅、料理が所狭しと詰められた、多国籍料理な一冊。

旅行に出て、食べる。
ひとつの旅はたった4ページで完結し、世界を食い尽すんじゃないかというテンポで、各国の料理が玉村さんの胃袋に吸い込まれていきます。

街を歩き、路地裏に入り、うまい店を見つけ出す。その嗅覚には驚かされます。

「とりあえず食ってみる」といった感じの姿勢で、サボテン、象の鼻、駱駝の手のひらまで食してしまいます。

出てくる料理それ自体にもそこの文化が色濃く反映されていますが、食し方もその土地によって様々です。

そもそも、おおかたのイタリアのレストランでは、その日の料理に使われる食材はきれいに(しかしかなり無雑作に)どのテーブルからもよく見える位置にディスプレイされていて、あ、手長エビがある、生ハムがうまそうだな、新鮮なフンギ(キノコ)が入ってるぞ……といった具合に、店に入った瞬間から食べたそうなものがおのずから決まってしまうのである。だからウエイターが近づいてきたころには、
「あのエビをサッと炒めてさ、それにフンギをグリルして添えて」
「で、プリモ・ピアットはスパゲッティ?」
「うん」
「ソースは?」
……と、この程度の簡単な会話でメニューの構成が決まってしまうことのほうが多い。

そのフランスのレストランのメニューで具体的な数字の書かれていないケースが、ひとつだけある。魚料理のレストランで、たとえば、<スズキ——S・G>などどある場合だ。
この<S・G>は、日本語に訳すと”時価”といいたいところだが、実は”selon grosseur——大きさに従って”という意味なのである。つまり、スズキを一匹注文したら、ハカリで重さを量って、何キロあるからキロ当たりいくらです、この大きさなら四人で食べるのにちょうどいいからひとり当たりおいくらになります……という具合に事を進めるという意味なのだ。明快そのものである。

「ステーキの焼き加減は、レアですかミディアムですか、それともきょうはウェルダン?」
「サラダのドレッシングは、イタリアンにフレンチに当店特製のスペシャルっていうのがあるけど、どうなさいます?」
毎回ニコニコ顔でたずねてくれるので、私はいつも同じ注文で通すのもどうかと思い、日によってレアにしたりウェルダンにしたり、ドレッシングもイタリアンにしたりスペシャルにしたり、と変化をつけて注文した。しかし持ってくるステーキとドレッシングは、毎回、まったくといっていいほど同じものだった。

〜中略〜

大切なのは、
「あなたの好みに合わせるよう努力しますよ。なんでもお望みをおっしゃってください」
という、もてなしの態度を積極的に示すことなのだ。客はそれに応じて礼儀を尽くせばよいのであって、日本人ふうに、
「適当にみつくろってください」
などというのは失礼に当たるし、また、注文のとおりの実物がこないなどと文句をいうのも見当違いなのである。

異文化のオンパレード。
料理だけでなく、そうした食べるスタイルの違いにもまた、魅かれてしまいます。

どうも読んでいると、著者には「うまく食べる才能」があるように思えてしかたがありません。
おいしい料理を見つけるだけでなく、おいしく食べる、のです。

私は知らないものを食べるのが大好きなのである。
たいがいのものを、うまいうまいといって食べることができる。
もちろん、なかには、これはそうちょいちょい食べたくはないなあ、と思うものもあるけれども、たとえどんな食べものであれ、土地の人がフツーに食べているようなものであればどれも”おいしい”はずなのである。それを”まずい”と断定してしまうのはこちらの身勝手。”まずい”のはなく、ただ、慣れていないために口に合わないだけなのだ、と思うことにしている。

「おいしいはずである」という考え方は、面白いですね。
この一種の思い込みによって、旅先での食事は一気に豊になりそうです。

たいてい食の本というのは、読んでいるとお腹が空くものです。
この『食客旅行』も多分に漏れず、口の中によだれが溜まっていきます。
しかし、この本は食欲よりも、同じように街を散策し、匂いを嗅ぎとり、土臭い名店を見つけたいという”旅欲”を刺激されます。

エッセイで描かれるのは、決して「食べる」ことだけではありません。

インドで人力車に無理矢理連れて行かれた宿のカレーを食べる、浜辺のテーブルでディナーを取ろうとするもウェイターが混雑する海岸道路を渡れない、ヒッチハイクに失敗して土管の中で寝ていたところを拾われ温かいスープをもらう。
旅をするからこそ味わうアクシデント。

それがまた、料理の味を引き立てているように思えます。

旅がしたくなるし、世界中を旅をしたようにも思えてしまう。
読後は、満足。でも、また食べたくなる。
そんなおいしい一冊です。

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