Meat: A Love Story and The Man Who Ate the World: 10 Things that Make the “Perfect”

The Man Who Ate Everything and Meat: A Love Story

The Delicious Life Cookbook-A-Day Giveaway
Summer Weekend Reading Edition, no. 3

There is a game we sometimes play when first we meet someone for the, uh, first time. Under the pretense of “making conversation,” you play the What Do You Find Attractive in the Opposite Sex? game. The first person takes a turn, listing a few characteristics that he finds “attractive.” Some of them are personality traits like “funny” or “easy going.” Some of them are physical attributes like “dark hair” or “delicate wrists.” Some of the qualities are slightly modified because they are “tailored” to the person against whom he is playing.

Don’t say you don’t play this game. You do. You may call it something else, but we all know that Scrabble by any other game would spell as suite.

When it’s your turn, you’ll gently shift in your seat, exhale as your perfectly French manicured finger traces the curve of your bottom lip with smudge-proof expertise. “Hmm…I’ve never really thought about it much,” you’ll coyly say. You don’t really think about specific qualities; you don’t really have a “type,” you’ll purr with a mysterious smile, but it’s a ruse. It’s a stall tactic because you’re buying time, analyzing him, strategizing, so you can pick and choose the right things to say. “I’m not quite sure,” as if you’ve never laid on your stomach diagonally across your unmade bed with velcro rollers in your hair and an avocado mask on your face writing down #134 through #148 of your list of your Perfect Guy list in your Hello Pity diary with Toni Braxton playing on your iPod.

You don’t do that. You’re above that girlish silliness.

But not thirty seconds later, you’re losing the game and “tall, dark and handsome” is spilling out of your mouth faster and dirtier than the Exxon Valdez.

Now before get I into why this game is stupid, leave a comment on this post to win either Meat, a Love Story: My Year in Search of the Perfect Meal or The Man Who Ate the World: In Search of the Perfect Dinner. Is it coincidence that both of these books have the words “search” and “perfect” in them? Is it coincidence that I am writing about what constitutes “The Perfect?”

Totally. Coincidence.

What you say in your comment in no way affects your chances of winning either book, but if you are so inclined, please feel free to share with others here on The Delicious Life who are total strangers to you, what makes the perfect guy/girl for you. I mean, who knows what could happen? One of you could read the other’s idea of perfect, fit it perfectly, make contact, and The Delicious Life could be the start of your Happily Ever After. This giveaway post could be the place “where it all began” for you. An entire future montage of diamonds, longs walks on the beach, ivory silk and layers of tulle, white picket fences, Daddy diaper bags, Sunday night dinners, and sitting on the porch swing holding hands could start right here, right now, all because I am giving away Meat: A Love Story! (I really want to make a joke here, but I won’t.)

I only ask that you name one of your children after me. The cutest one, please.

Now then.

The game is stupid. What Do You Find Attractive means you are revealing The Checklist – a list of characteristics, qualities, “bullet points on your life resume” if you will, that make up The Perfect – and we all know how I feel about The Checklist.

It’s stupid! The Checklist is stupid because it doesn’t exist, so I have no idea why I capitalize and call it “The Checklist,” as if it were real because it’s not.

I feel so much better now.

The point of this whole nonsensical Ade made of Tire is that I am going to reveal those things that I find opposite in the attractive sex, even after I have just so very adamantly proclaimed that 1) doing so is stupid and 2) doing so is stupid.

10 Things That Make You Perfect for Sarah

1. Smart. Not just smart like “I have my PhD in something awesome,” but smaaaaart. But not smarter than me, because that’s pretty tough to come by, and I don’t want to narrow the pool so severely right off the bat.

2. Glasses. I love glasses. I love men in glasses. I don’t know why. I think the presence of glasses makes me think that the man might be smart (see #1 above). Or reads. Good Lord, the man actually *gasp!* reads!??! Like books?!?! Like enough that he ruined his eyes when he was 8 because he was reading books under the covers until 2 am with a flashlight just like me? I love him already.

3. Colgate Smile. Nothing will make me gasp harder and deeper than a smile with gorgeous, Dental School textbook straight, sparkling pearly white teeth surrounded by perfect, perfectly kissable lips. Oh God, it gives me the shivers in places I shouldn’t shiver just thinking about it.

4. Tan. “Tan” is different from “dark complexion.” Tan is an indication that he does things outside in the sunshine like sitting with me on the veranda overlooking the ocean on a Sunday afternoon, or grills on the patio in the backyard, or plays golf. However, if he’ tan because he spent 90 Mystical seconds in a booth, I will laugh in his face.

5. Confidence that’s almost arrogance. I like assholes. I know. It’s weird.

6. Con(versation) Artist. I love the back and forth of conversation – not simply information exchange, but rather the interaction itself. I love the guy who can sit across from me for three hours, talk about nothing and yet, still have it the conversation be meaningful because he challenged me, cut me down (nicely), didn’t balk when four letter words came spewing out of my mouth, and wasn’t afraid to give it back to me as hard and
fast as I gave it out.

7. Big Feet. It has absolutely nothing to do with the idea of “Big feet, all ___.” It has everything to do with how small feet are “dainty” and nothing about a man should ever – no, not ever – be “dainty.” Ew.

8. Southern or British Accent. Two totally different sounds, but either one makes me tremble. Other accents, not so much.

9. Passion. I have a deep, blinding passion for food, restaurants, and writing about them both. He too should have have a deep, blinding passion for something. It doesn’t, in most cases, matter for what that passion is. It only matters that the passion is there.

10. Likes to eat. Naturally.

Of course, never in the history of Sarah have I ever dated, seen, gone out with, hung out with or whatever other stupid eHarmonious term with anyone who had any combination of five out of ten. Not even three. Hell, I’d have taken two.

Good luck with your comments.

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  • dessertobsessed

    tall, dark, and handsome. definitely.

  • Ari

    I second the tall, dark and handsome. Also add in funny and nothing better than a man who can COOK!

  • FranMag

    I like a man who is self-assured…of course that can come off as arrogance also, which explains some of my past choices. :-)

  • dorkydi

    The number one requirement: he must be able to make me laugh.

    It also helps if he’s geeky, cute, and is a dancer or at least willing to learn how to dance.

  • Anonymous

    the most important thing to me is that he be a nice guy. like peter in “forgetting sarah marshall.” i also have a penchant for the super smart guy. brains are very attractive.

  • Liz

    Funny, smart, and handy.

  • sarah j. gim

    dessertobsessed: now do you mean dark, as in dark complexion like oh-so-hot-lovely kevin garnett, or dark as in dark-haired only or both?

    ari: wow – though cooks and chefs make me all kinds of hot (hello, anthony bourdain? i love you? call me?), i may be the only woman who might prefer a man-mate who sort of bumbles through the kitchen?

    franmag: omy, i don’t know why but arrogance does it for me.

    dorkydi: i agree! it’s something like make me laugh and keep up with my snarky, sarcastic conversation

    anonymous: smarts. YES. like a beautiful effin’ mind, you know?

  • hohomanx

    those cookbooks sound fantastic! and i think my perfect girl would have to be willing to just stay in on some days just be laid back together.

  • jkru

    first, happy birthday!

    second, tall, dark hair, light eyes. Someone who is geeky enough to get my physics references and finds it endearing. And fortunately for me, I found him and we’re getting married in December! :)

  • Sarah

    Hmmm…making me laugh is of utmost importance. Height is just as important (since I am 6 ft myself). Finally, I don’t know why, but I have a thing for noses. Unique and cute noses really catch my eye. Strange, I know, but it has worked for me in the past! ;)

  • Megan

    Tall, dark and handsome would be nice but I want my guy to make me laugh and do things with me. No, not like tie me up, like go to the farmers market, or a yard sale, or just exploring somewhere new.

  • sarah j. gim

    hohomanx: not cookbooks, actually – they’re books for reading :) and what does “laid back” mean?

    jkru: CONGRATS!

    Sarah: (great name.) hey if it’s worked for you before, go with what you nose. ;)

    Megan: i think a lot of people want someone who will do things with them – but it’s a matter of WHAT those things are…for you, go to the farmers market. for me, it’s sitting on a veranda overlooking the ocean on a sunday afternoon drinking iced teas and talking about…nothing.

  • LA Blogger Gal

    I love my man to pieces…he makes me smile & he makes me laugh all the time. Now if only he knew how to cook!! ;-)

  • Mel CH

    Sense of humor, for sure.

    ~ Mel CH

  • teri48xxx

    Looks aren’t a huge issue for me but I do like a guy that is laid-back and interesting. I’m not very picky.

  • SJK

    One thing I would like is a Korean girl that can actually cook Korean food. (Hard to find these days) And I mean the hard stuff like ban chan, because any idiot can make kim-chi jigae.

  • H. C.

    Perfect guy/girl — pshh… I’m looking for the perfect meaty dessert ~ preferably bacon.

  • Doowitey

    whadda flirty bunch

  • cpullum

    A man heart defines him! Outside is also good but if there is no showing of the heart than problems can occur!!

  • sarah j. gim

    LA Blogger Gal: but don’t you want him to NOT cook so you can be alone in the kitchen?!?!

    Mel CH: i agree – and i think most people want “sense of humor,” though what specific brand of humor is the key :)

    teri48xxx: WOMAN, ARE YOU MAD? it’s all about looks!

    SJK: i’d really like to find a girl who can cook korean food, too

    hc: i think you may need that book, huh?

    doowitey: oh come on, you know you wanna join the fray

    cpullum: heart. yes. :)

  • Michelle

    LA Blogger Gal, you’ve got it spot on. It’s the same for me too! :)

  • Dan

    low standards and not taller than me.

    thats all i ask for!

    • newport news real estate


  • Naomi

    tall, scrawny, artsy nerd, inked and pierced, my boyfriend has the first three going for him, plus he makes me laugh my ass off on a daily basis so that’s gotta count for something…we’re not having kids, but we can name our cat after you…

  • ashley

    funny, kind of nerdy, cute, and of course rich ;)
    jk, i’m not a gold digger…. OR AM I?

  • Tiffany

    He must have a good heart and of course, taller than me :)

  • sarah j. gim

    dan: how tall are you?

    naomi: but is the cat cute? i like to think of myself as a small, sleek, Siamese kitty :)

    ashley: you’re not a gold digger. you’re just smart. :D

  • sarah j. gim

    cookie monster: good heart goes without saying :)

  • Michael

    Ok. I’m reading what all you women are saying (am I the only male fan here?) and I must admit I am in shock! Treating us men like we’re something on display – checking height, weight, glasses(!), etc. How would you feel if we were to treat you in the same way? Discussing breast size, waist and butt?? Ummm… Ooops! Well, you got me there. Fine.
    Love you site. Love your sense of humor and your recipes. Keep up the good work!

  • FranMag

    What you said about being smart made me chuckle. I had a male friend ask me years ago if I could marry someone who wasn’t as smart as I was…I replied, “Well, I sort of have to.” ;-)

  • sarah j. gim

    michael: wait a sec here…height for either male or female, whether they wear glasses – is a little different from bust and waist.


    actually, i don’t think there’s anything wrong with a guy or girl having preferences about bust, waist, butt, height, weight, anything. those are all each person’s preference, right?

  • Chiara

    A dorkily goofy guy, someone who I can be a big adventurous foodie like me, a man who I can drag to the dance floor even if he has two left feet, and somebody who understands my nuttiness….

  • sarah j. gim

    chiara: i have a weird thing for a guy who CAN dance.



    mr. j. t.

  • sarah j. gim

    chiara: i have a weird thing for a guy who CAN dance.



    mr. j. t.

  • Anonymous
  • LaLa Brat

    I’ve got a tall, dark and handsome but very picky eater. Would I want to trade for a short, blonde and ugly with a diverse palate? Hmmm. Answer that one, Sarah?

  • Kate

    Great smile, cocky, funny, likes food. I seem to date a lot of chefs. My current boyfriend is not a chef, but he can cook.

  • sarah j. gim

    lala brat: the truth is, short/tall, blonde/brunette, piadina/pizza, tan/fair, glasses/20-20, artist/academic…all these “bullet points” on someone’s life resume are nice to use as a starting point, but the truth is, none of them really matter unless there’s CHEMISTRY, and that’s what makes someone Hot or Not to you :)

    Kate: another girl who likes cocky!

  • Lisamarie

    All for the “tall, dark, and handsome” cliche LOL. And I TOTALLY agree that he should be able to or be willing to try to dance!! Not afraid to be goofy, and not afraid to try new things.

    Oooo and he has to smell nice :)

  • Maggie

    You may already have your books for the rest of the month (1 week) set up…but even if you do, here’s just a suggestion for good food reading…if you haven’t already read it!

    Bento Box in the Heartland: My Japanese Girlhood in Whitebread America…it’s a very touching memoir, and has recipes at the end of every chapter! I’m almost done with it, and have been considering making a few of the recipes. Not sure why I didn’t share this with you sooner, but if you haven’t already heard of it, enjoy! :)

  • DJensen

    Self-confidence and an empathetic and generous heart. She has to be strong enough to get over herself and love something/someone other than herself. Even if you have to occasionally fake the self-confidence part, just the bravery of stepping outside of yourself for the good of others is hawt. Oh yes, and that chemistry thing is kinda sorta important too.

    Sarah, thanks for all the honesty and humor in your blog.

  • sarah j. gim

    lisamarie: how on earth did i forget?! YES, smelling nice. my favorite? Tide :)

    maggie: thanks for the rec! i may have to get my hands on it!

    djensen: it’s scary to make yourself so vulnerable in that way, don’t you think?

  • taysha

    is someone who likes me back sound too desperate

  • Anonymous

    Sarah – I have no problem with preferences, but you fall in love with who you fall in love with (huh??) regardless of checklists, preferences and all the rest…

  • Sharon

    hmm, someone who can make me laugh and is also taller than me. Not asking for much there since I’m only 5’2 :)

  • brewinphan

    Who knew that makes me laugh would be so popular? I guess we’re a culture that demands to be entertained. My wife makes me laugh a lot, so that’s definitely a check. I would say someone who challenges me is really important, but I’d have to qualify that by saying someone who challenges me in a good way, not in the “I’m going to disagree with you just to be bratty or test you” kind of way.

  • DJensen

    scary… yes. scary hawt!! there’s risk involved in being uncomfortable, and caring about others, and attempting to cooking indian food in your own house. taking those kinds of risks stands out to me.

    Oh, and late congrats to you!! You rode a plane… rode a plane… rode a plane…

  • LM

    The Man Who Ate the World: In Search of the Perfect Dinner sounds very interesting. I am married to my perfect man. He doesn’t care to travel, but otherwise he is the right height for me (don’t get a crick in my neck kissing him), he’s handsome, intelligent, has a good job and is good at it, enjoys reading and movies and almost all music, is good with kids and cats, etc etc.

  • Chiara


    Yes, if only Jessica Alba didn’t get her hands on Mr. JT first! Haha!

    And here are a couple of other book recs, if you still need ’em:

    “The Fortune Cookie Chronicles” by Jennifer 8. Lee. Yes, her middle initial is actually a number.

    “Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant: Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining alone” by Jenni Ferrari-Adler.

  • SunJun

    Sadly, most of my experiences have only built a list of things that I do not look for in women. I suppose the single item on my list is “does not fit any of those criteria.” :P

  • SunJun

    Sadly, most of my experiences have only built a list of things that I do not look for in women. I suppose the single item on my list is “does not fit any of those criteria.” :P

  • condiment

    A well-turned nape.

  • condiment

    A well-turned nape.

  • Craig

    I honestly don’t know but the next time I click with someone, you’ll be first to know. :)

  • fanofforeheadlessbloggers


    1) Smart.
    2) Glasses from reading.
    10) Likes to eat.

    I also live nearby I think.

    3 out of 10. I think you should be excited. :)

  • Tableau Vivante

    Someone who gets it immediately that I don’t want help in the kitchen.

    I get all Gordon Ramsay. “WHERE’S THE LAMB SAAAAAUCE?!?!?!”

    But someone who also realizes that the occasional shoulder rub while I’m sweating onions is entirely acceptable.

    Not while CHOPPING onions. Ouch.

    Also, someone who gets why I have to have five tubs of demi-glace and duck fat in the freezer…and is willing to help me restock.

  • Sonya

    Hmmm, just got back from Greece, so right now Mediterranean men…

    …but, generally speaking, a confident, warm man who is laid back and can articulate an intelligent opinion.

  • yixiaooo

    Hey Sarah,

    I’m only looking for my “Equal”, my sweetnener.

  • yixiaooo

    Hey Sarah,

    I’m only looking for my “Equal”, my sweetnener.

  • blackcealt

    an old soul at heart

  • blackcealt

    an old soul at heart

  • spadamchrist

    This is your life. Then the train jerks, sending your luggage flying across the compartment. As you stumble, you can hear a whistle blow. The train is slowing down. In a minute, you will be there. Seized by panic, you reach blindly for your personal belongings now strewn all over the aisle. The train comes to a standstill, doors sliding open. You shove whatever you can grab in the now damaged suitcase, and rush out of the wagon as the doors slide back shut behind you.
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