Wild and Impetuous or a Stuffed Shirt? This was a big question during much of the 1960s in America, when being ‘square’ was going to lump you into a previous generation that was openly questioned on many important social issues.
1963’s Barefoot in the Park, by Neil Simon, was an early shot across the bow of ‘square’ America and was an unintended piece of the Pre-Chowhound Era. The newlywed wife (in the 1967 movie, Jane Fonda) is seen as being wild and impetuous, and the husband (in the movie, Robert Redford) was a stuffed shirt. In one important scene, the flamboyant neighbor, Mr Velasco, prepares a sizzling dish of salted eel that you ‘pop’ in your mouth while it is very hot or it will taste bitter. The wife ‘pops’ with much delight, but the husband nibbles.
A scene added in the movie (talked about in the play) has Mr. Velasco taking them to a secret Albanian restaurant on Staten Island on a cold February night instead of the steak-and-potato place around the corner.
It was pretty amazing and funny seeing this version of Chowhound enthusiasm vs MOR reticence played out circa 1963. Not just as a question of ‘personal’ taste (as often happens on Chowhound), but as a question of how Chowhound attitude relates to life and social norms.