that surreal meal feel

things seemed lined up for a quiet thanksgiving this year since i am at my mom's. i thought it would be just me and her since my brother has been quite reclusive lately, never speaking, only coming out of his room in a massive hoodie to smoke. i suppose his bipolarity cycles with the seasons. but suddenly, starting earlier this week, it's like he's been rebooting. he was always really into food, cut his teeth on endless hours of the food network as a kid, and was especially into gourmet, michelin guide-type food. on tuesday, a big box marked "KEEP FROZEN" was delivered to the house, filled with all the gourmet essentials: foie gras, caviar, a truffle, fancy french butter with seals of authenticity all over it. i don't even want to know how much it all must've cost. he started appearing in the kitchen more often and holding normal conversations. then, on thursday he came down at noon and pretty much commandeered the entire kitchen for close to six straight hours. it was an absolute frenzy, almost like he was manic again. every surface and appliance seemed like it was being used for something.

around six or seven things started coming together on the dining room table, his special fancy seashell plates all laid out with small portions of carefully plated food. it really did look like part of the tasting menu at a gourmet restaurant. but it was also clear from the looks (and later, the taste) that it was all just a bit off, like the hotel room at the end of 2001: a space odyssey. there were a lot of really strange choices, like one dish that was half a mcdonald's-type oval hash brown (there were a ton in the freezer because i eat them for breakfast) with potato salad and then topped with... caviar of all things. some were a bit too rich in flavor because he overused some of the ingredients like foie gras: one dish was mashed potatoes made with foie gras, with foie gras gravy, and foie gras crumbles on top. however i must admit the main dish of duck breast with a cherry reduction sauce and mashed potatoes was actually quite good. really he might do quite well for himself if he practiced more, but even though it's one of his big interests he rarely actually cooks, just watches people do it on youtube and stuff.
it tasted mostly like hash brown

how do i know so much about the flavor? well, that's because he didn't even end up eating most of it. i don't know what happened, maybe he was just too tired or had no appetite for some other reason, but after working hard for seven hours to get it onto the plate, i saw him take a few puffs of weed from a vape and then sit down at the table lethargically. he nibbled on all the dishes, commented on them, and then declared in a slow and somewhat fatigued manner that he was already full before going back to his room. i don't know if it was the weed or if he was just exhausted from putting in so much effort when he usually does nothing all day. but before he went, i asked if i could have some of the leftovers because i was really curious. i'm glad he said yes because it's not every day you get to have caviar on top of a hash brown, after all.