The Co’s Katherine Gougeon explores social and cultural details that have an outsized ripple effect. Follow her on Twitter @kgougeon
Regrets, I have a few. Like the time my boyfriend and I – long on free concert ops, short on quiet luxuries – scalped the last-minute tickets to Prince his boss had given him. They went fast, for a small fortune. We took the money and put it in our stomachs. The best restaurant in town. I’ve long forgotten which.
This memory came full circle when, pouring over Prince tributes, I found Heavy Table, an online magazine about food and drink in the Upper Midwest that once ran a story about Prince’s refrigerator.
On a lark, an editor had emailed Prince in 2010 asking if he would be willing to share the contents of his fridge with Heavy Table readers. Eight months later, the answer came back yes, with a few conditions. There could be no description of Prince’s home or its location. There could be no photographers. But an illustrator was okay.
So what was inside that fridge?
Sketch Credit: Andy Sturdevant / Heavy Table
Heavy Table reported 18 varieties of mustard, a gallon of homemade kimchi, a half-loaf of challah bread, a gallon of Quebec maple syrup, soy creamer, yak milk, microgreens, a log of German sausage and 5lbs of Dunk-a-roos. “Sometimes you want a food that is just comfortable and takes you back. For me, it’s those crazy little kangaroo crackers,” Prince was quoted regarding the Dunk-a-roos.
It’s a wonder someone so famously private – who banned tape recorders and personal questions and told Larry King, I live in this world but I am not of this world – would allow the world to peer into his fridge.
Maybe it was because he appreciated the humour and quirky artistry of a column dedicated to the contents of celebrity fridges. Maybe he couldn’t resist the idea of masterminding the contents in advance, creating a bizarre gastronomical narrative that could only enhance his mystique. Or maybe he permitted it because it meant nothing at all. It was just a sweet private detail he could offer fans without compromising or diminishing the kind of privacy he actually cared about.
Heather McElhatton, a journalist who worked as a set director on Prince’s Paisley Park video series in the ’90s recently told The Guardian: I never saw him eat, like physically eat anything in 10 years. I never saw him drink.
The contents of his fridge prove, at the very least, Prince snacked. They also indicate that for The Artist food wasn’t substance. It was just sustenance. A distinction I wish I’d understood the night we traded Prince for paté.
Feature Image: Kevin Mazur