Yes, Food Does Belong in Your Bed

An esteemed colleague and rad food dude I admire, Dennis Lee, recently wrote a piece for The Takeout titled “Food Does Not Belong in Your Bed.” And I would just like to riposte, nay, I would like to deliver a protracted clap back to this improper and treacherous averment: Food absolutely belongs in your bed.

Why does food belong in your bed? Because, my loyal, snack-minded acolytes, food belongs everywhere. It is ever-present, an essential part of life to be enjoyed in any space, and trying to extinguish it from any particular scene is not only wrong, it’s hopelessly ineffective. To say that food simply does not belong in your bed is already setting too many rules around such a boundless, joyous activity (that is, cramming food into your lovely face). Moreover, crusading against where food does and doesn’t belong threatens to snuff out the very pleasure of eating itself. It’s in the same family as enforcing a dress code at restaurants (another dangerously bad idea).

I don’t know if you’ve met people, but they are full of preferences. Some people prefer to eat lunch at their desk, on a park bench, on the apartment stoop, standing up over a trash can (me), or lying back-down on cold, hard cement. Eating is best when you feel comfortable. And that comfort must not be discriminated against. For that reason, food belongs on airplanes, on the street, while riding a ferris wheel, in the rain, on a train, on a boat, or in a moat (hard to ignore the Dr. Seuss vibe I’ve got going on here). 

One thing I know for sure, and maybe this is a conversation for another day, is that food certainly belongs in your car. Messy and dangerous? Only if you’re bad at eating while driving. I’ll devour a hoagie and steer the wheel of a Subaru with only my knees, all while screaming at traffic and blasting Russian Baroque music on KUSC. No food at the pool? What kind of nudnik listens to every sign out there? I’ll eat a piece of pizza while floating on an inflatable raft shaped like a piece of pizza. Why? Because there isn’t a place or situation on earth where food doesn’t belong. That’s free will, baby. I can eat a croissant at your funeral and get crumbs all over the casket if I want to. The world is my canvas, and my paint brush? A Nature Valley Oats ‘N Honey granola bar.

It should be said that I understand why Dennis (and plenty of other people) don’t eat food in bed. I understand the perception that it’s messy and unsanitary. I do, however, think that’s a bit dramatic. My bed isn’t somehow contaminated because I ate some chicken tenders between the sheets. If I spill a little wine, I don’t haul my soiled Casper to the dumpster the following morning.

I’m also not eating a bean and cheese burrito on my queen-sized bed without a plate. I don’t tear through a bag of peanuts and just toss the shells around like it’s a Texas Roadhouse. I fully understand that my top sheet isn’t a napkin, and I’m careful with my bites. I pull the bowl of Tum Yum Gai (I live in Thai Town) extra close to my mouth. That’s right. I eat soup in bed. And sure, if a couple olive juice-soaked crumbs from a muffuletta get on my comforter, I’ll wipe em’ off gladly. Why? Because a couple crumbs never hurt anybody. The world is full of crumbs. I mean, have you ever been outside?

Now, if you’re an inherently chaotic, messy person who’s prone to walking around with mustard stains on your clothes, hey, maybe you have a problem and you shouldn’t eat food in bed. But, me? I trust myself because I love myself. Wow. That statement is the result of years of therapy. We did it, Maria!

I will concede one of Dennis’s points, though, and that is that breakfast in bed is overrated. But, again, I only think it’s overrated in the big, romantic gesture sense. Even the thought of being locked into a bed table with a bunch of different plates and a glass of orange juice gives me anxiety. Still, it’s about the gesture, and if my partner likes breakfast in bed, by golly that’s what they’ll get. Breakfast in bed, in its romantic or opulent implementation, isn’t great, but breakfast in bed as a concept? I mean, my god, have you never been hungover? After a night at Jumbo’s Clown Room I’m not waking up to the sounds of bird chirping, yawning wistfully, and sitting upright at my kitchen table with excellent posture like I was shot out of an optimism cannon at the Everything Is Going to Be Alright Festival. No. I’m in bed, hair a mess, body aching, my insides burning, chowing down on some donuts and maybe even a couple scratchers (oh no I’m scratching lottery tickets in bed now).

Really, this might come down to alcohol. I like to drink. And when I come home from a night out on the town, I’m not eating anywhere but my bed, man. Chairs and tables went out the window as soon as I bummed that Camel Crush from a stranger. I’m sitting cross legged in my bed, probably watching an episode of Better Call Saul that I’ll have to rewatch tomorrow to remember exactly what happened, eating a bean and cheese burrito or a stack of pancakes.

Finally, a response to the widespread idea that “a bed is only for sleeping.” I don’t believe that, and I don’t think the larger public does either. Your bed is for everything. Why? Because your bed is your comfort zone, my guy! Your bed is for watching TV, reading, intimacy, talking on the phone, covering yourself in blankets when you’re sick, shielding your eyes during a horror movie, and yes, a place for eating. Your bed is your happy place, your own personal sanctuary of comfort. It stands to reason that one would eat comfort food in their comfort zone, right?

This all boils down to the old, tired adage “to each his own.” If you’re the type of person who shudders at the thought of getting food in your bed then, no, food isn’t for your bed. But me? I am not those things. I eat everywhere and I don’t give a shit. One of my favorite things to do is eat an entire spread of food on the trunk of my car, an activity I got accustomed to while getting takeout on a mid-pandemic, cross-country roadtrip from Pennsylvania to Los Angeles. I have, with no regrets, eaten a bag full of beignets from Café Du Monde, spilling an inordinate amount of powdered sugar onto the floor of my newly inherited 2007 Dodge Charger. I eat food over my sink, in line at the bank, while riding a bike, and on the Jumbotron at Dodger Stadium. Why? Because food is too good not to enjoy everywhere.

But maybe that’s the booze talking.

About the Author

Danny Palumbo

Danny is a comedian, cook, and food writer living in Los Angeles. He loves gas station eggs, canned sardines, and Easter candy. He also passionately believes that all the best chips come from Pennsylvania (Herr's!). If you can't understand Danny when he talks, it's because he's from Pittsburgh.

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