Back in elementary school, there was always some kid who would wad up the wrapper from a straw, shove it up his nose, then slowly pull it down. Gross! everyone would squeal. Little did any of us know that he was a trendsetter.

Granted, the straw paper did not attach to a lovely oxygen canister. But he was on the right track. By now he's no doubt learned the single-most valuable word in the trendy person's vocabulary: accessorize.

The question remains, though: What goes best with a serving of oxygen?

Shizlong's most popular dish, reports The Times, is plain oatmeal.

"Mmmmm … oatmeal."

Call me a philistine, but I'm just not that crazy about eating dinner with a companion who has something sticking out of his or her nose. But that's why I am a boorish American.

Note that I said not just American, but boorish American. It would be unfair to lump all North Americans into the special category of boorishness that I inhabit. For not all Americans are as out of it as I am. Some are quite stylish, in an American sort of way, of course. That is, they may not eat at restaurants that offer the ultrachic snout tube. But you can pretty well bet that they are clamoring to get into a restaurant that is, in its own way, doing something equally experimental.

If you're keeping up with fashionable restaurant trends in the States, you know that something is raw food. No, not sushi, steak tartare, or oysters on the half shell, although they may count, as they, too, are raw.

But I get the impression that such classics of raw cuisine are too old-school for the modern palate. If I understand correctly, what we're talking about here is a multicourse meal costing hundreds of dollars that consists of regular everyday food, uncooked.

They call it experimental. I call it shopping.