Was this really what God wanted for him? It was only six months ago that Mario was crafting gastronomical delights for the wealthiest members of Philadelphia, spending hours each day debating flavor profiles and acidity levels – now he was just trying to find a kind of spoon that could bear the heft of the disgusting macaroni and cheese they served to these college students. No wonder Americans worried about Asians becoming better than them – we feed our young scholars glop that congeals their minds and ruins their hearts! Mario himself believed that a state of perpetual hunger was beneficial to the working of the mind. When he was devising his most revolutionary menus, he always kept himself at around 800 calories a day. He felt that he was more keenly attuned to what would stimulate people’s palettes when he was salivating so much that he could practically fill a shot glass with his own spit. In fact when his most legendary menu, the African safari culinary journey that struck the fancy of so many in the city, first hit him, he felt a powerful wave of hunger so strong that he almost fainted and burned his face off in the stovetop flame. That’s when he knew he had truly hit upon something special.
It was also one of the reasons why his current situation puzzled him so much. Sure, there had been rat meat in the ravioli and bits of cat in the sauce, but it had been advertised in the menu! It was the cat and mouse dinner, a concept that appeared to him so vividly that he came within a millimeter of chopping off his own ring finger. People got so up in arms after they had eaten it and the expose was published, but really the use of the word expose was the more serious journalistic transgression since Mario would have told any one of the restaurants’ patrons proudly what was in the meal. But questions had come up about where he had gotten the rat and cat meat that even he had to admit had thorny implications, and now he was shoveling pasta and cream sauce to bulbous freshman. But that’s the way the restaurant world worked – and after this semester he would have enough money to go to China and start an apprenticeship in a restaurant there. It seemed like they were more on the cutting edge, anyway.