You know your food is cooked well when:
1. Like a woman, it only gets more attractive with every subsequent shot of vodka.
2. You want to stash it in an imaginary memory jar and put it on a shelf next to your first kiss and prerecession savings.
3. It warms you up just looking it at it. Even if it’s in the fridge.
4. If the last piece disappears, and it wasn’t you, you yell, “What the hell happened?”
5. It inspires you to put things in your mouth that don’t normally belong there. Like fetal duck eggs.
6. It makes you want to have sex with your longtime partner (or the person sitting next to you, or whoever is paying.)
7. It’s pork.
8. In a restaurant, you experience perverse and evil satisfaction sitting at your table and watching the maître d’ do his “you will never get reservations here ever” dance.
9. At the table, the only noises are clanking of silverware and steady chewing.
10. When you made it and your spouse says, “Did you get this from my mom?”
11. When you catch its smell while hugging a stranger in an overcrowded bus, and it makes you happy.
12. When there’s nothing you can add to it.
Bonus: When you’ve crawled through land mines and broken glass to get to it and it still blows your mind.
This essay has been entered in Anthony Bourdain’s Medium Raw Challenge. If you like it, please vote for it at http://bourdainmediumraw.com/essays/view/1695 and pass it along!