Tiberio Simone decorates two models at a party to launch his book, La Figa.
Loving women, loving their bodies, a passion long-celebrated, has fallen into disfavor, what with sordid sex scandals at home and abroad. But there is nothing shameful about Tiberio Simone's delight in the human form (in all its forms).
He's a chef, first and foremost, with a business called La Figa Catering. Literally, the fig. Metaphorically, symbollically, and in Italian slang, it's what you think it is. "Bella figa" is the highest compliment a man can pay a woman, Tiberio writes. "And since when is that a bad thing?" he asks in his book, also called La Figa, subtitled Visions of Food and Form, which features some 40 short essays about food, 20 recipes, and artful photographs by Matt Freedman of models covered in food (cucumbers, berries, zucchini, radishes).
"Our need for food and sex goes way beyond pleasure: we wouldn't exist without them," Tiberio writes. And, just as vegetables come in assorted shapes and sizes, so do the models, young and old, fat and skinny, all shades of the rainbow.
This is a book about the sensuality of food and sex; there's almost nothing here for the prurient. It officially premiered at the Seattle Erotic Arts Festival last month, then had a more public "coming out" last night at Wine World Warehouse. Tiberio probably slept with half the women at the party, I suggested to a mutual acquaintance. "Probably," she said, then added, with a smile, "But I'm not one of them."
La Figa: Visions of Food and Form, Book Publishers Network, 192 pages $39,95