An Autonomous Woman Is Inherently Destructive

An Autonomous Woman Is Inherently Destructive

Screenshot from “The Bear” Season 2, Episode 3 In “Sundae,” the third episode of the recently-released second season of Hulu's The Bear , chef Sydney Adamu, played by Ayo Edebiri, spends a day-long culinary journey around Chicago as a palate “reset” for the menu she and her business partner, chef Carmine Berzatto, are developing for their restaurant-to-be. The original plan was for Syd and Carmy to do this together, but he bails at the last minute, and she's left with the day to herself. “Can I get the breakfast sandwich with longaniza, and also can I get a hash brown? I'll also have the mushroom adobo, and, umm, one of these mango tarts. And, umm [thoughtful squint] a matcha latte.” The unselfconscious “ands” and “alsos” of Syd's order at her first stop of the day are a pleasure in and of themselves. We watch her digging into pasta, ribs, noodles, slices of pizza, and finishing off the day with a glorious banana split. Throughout this, she's also talking with old friends and connections in the city's culinary world, getting and feeling a growing doubt Carmine's reliability as a partner, as well as the massive gamble of opening a restaurant. But the food she eats is clearly the star of the sequence. The whole thing takes about ten minutes of the entire episode. In Salon , Kelly Pau writes incisively about the sequence's “radical” and “empowering” content—that is, the novelty of depicting a woman eating a lot, with gusto, purposefully, and alone, and in the name of her own ambition. And indeed, after finishing the episode, the shots of Sydney sliding a dumpling into her mouth, glistening fish roe, and a golden slab of hash brown being placed into an open breakfast sandwich stayed with me. I couldn't tell if the staggering volume of what she consumed was a product of television fictionalizing, or a superpower common to chefs and food critics. Either way, I didn't care—I only knew the very real joy and longing that Sydney's peregrinations across Chicago's food landscape instilled in me. I couldn't tell […]

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