There was a day in 1995 that, in the course of making a pie, I realized that what I really needed was something for dinner. So I pivoted. In the refrigerator were eggs, milk, spinach, ham, cheese, and nothing else. The next few steps seemed pretty obvious and within a few minutes my creation was baking in the oven. Later, when my roommate came home, she said, “Oh, you made quiche.” And I had—I just hadn’t realized that’s what I’d been doing. I’d managed to reach the age of 20 without knowing what quiche is exactly. All I knew was that it was a name of a food that fancy people ate on tv shows—it may as well have been a synonym for soufflé or steak tartare. Being naive about quiche is hard to imagine now that it’s available in every Starbucks deli case. But it wasn’t on the menu growing up in Green Bay, Wisconsin in the 80s and 90s.
Briefly, that’s why I’ve always had a ridiculous sense of pride when it comes to quiche. When I see people enjoying it, I’m quietly pleased with myself. From time to time (much less in recent recent decades) I’ve even told people about how I invented it. I may not have the first—a quick web search reveals that its origins lay in medieval Germany—but I feel like I can lay claim to a legitimate process of invention. To have agency is to be able to explore the possibilities in yourself and the things around you. There are limits and there are reasons why as people and as a society we continue to run into the same problems (and joys) over and over again.
Believe it or not, this recollection was spurred by the news that Louis C.K. evidently engaged in sexual misbehavior that I won’t recount here. C.K.’s M.O. must have seemed exciting and original to him at some point. How did he discover it? Does he realize that he’s no better than an everyday subway masturbator? An alarming number of the comic voices that I’ve enjoyed over the years, starting with Bill Cosby (whose tape cassettes I collected in my teens) have become impossibly compromised by pathetic and criminal innovations. Bill Cosby, Woody Allen, and Louis C.K. are at the top of the list for me. I can’t imagine I’ll ever be able to enjoy their work again. All because they discovered their lack of conscience.
There is something fundamentally off with male (mostly) sexuality. And now that we’re slowly dismantling the millennia old apparatus that protected men from condemnation, I really wonder if we can evolve past these problems. And if not, how we’ll handle it. The first and only step is to give more power to women because they know quiche when they see it.
(Photo by Stacy Spensley, Used under the CC Attribution License).