Sunday, August 30, 2009

#62 Is Eating For Pleasure Obsolete?

My cousin, Anna Jane Grossman, wrote a book called OBSOLETE. It's an encyclopedia of once common things that are passing us or have passed us by. This is, of course, a plug for her book; however, there are some very interesting entries. For example, ciao to adult book stores. I'm assuming that their demise is due in part to the Internet and in part to the fact that network and cable television are so OUT there that one doesn't need to hide in a dark "book store" to get their jollies anymore.

Here are a few other entries that may pique your interest: ditto paper, car cigarette lighters, social emailing [my son is quoted], and the one that really caught my interest, EATING FOR PLEASURE. Now, aren't you curious?

The small print under the eating for pleasure entry says, "the practice of not obsessing about food." Some of us foodies may be unsure as to what that means. Either we're eating really well, watching what we eat, counting our calories, preparing good dishes, and shopping at Whole Foods, or we are eating crap and dealing with all the obsessive thoughts that go with doing that. However, Annie [that's what I call her] writes that it gets even more neurotic than what I just shared. She says, "we are either over-analyzing our diets or berating ourselves...", and since the 90's, when the FDA started requiring that food packages have the nutritional values printed on the outside, calorie counting has taken the fun out of eating. She says that a person can't even indulge in, a Hostess cupcake "without first removing their eyeglasses". Well, she's got me down, although for some splurges I just ignore the fine print.

Today, people are so diverse in their diets that going out with a group of friends for lunch or dinner, or having people over, or having kids to your home can be very difficult and mystifying. You'd be remiss if you didn't check to see if your guests have any nut allergies, keep kosher, are vegetarians, don't eat dairy, are off sugar, are vegan, or only eat raw food. Recently, we had a barbeque where one of the families invited eats a gluten-free diet -- this means no wheat products. I had decided to make corn bread in their honor, but when I looked at the ingredients on the mix, gluten was the third ingredient. My choices, it seemed, were to either buy gluten-free corn bread or make it from scratch.

Recently, I made the decision to change the way my kids snack. Because neither one of them have a weight problem or "use food", I've never been overly concerned with their snacking. If they wanted something sweet, they would grab a cookie or two. Recently though, I've noticed that they are doing a lot more grazing on snack foods when they watch TV. Also, I'm concerned with the amount of sugar and hydrogenated oils they are getting in these snack foods... the ones, sad to say, that I'm buying. When I told them what I was thinking and what I wanted to do, surprisingly, there was no argument. Actually, my son went into my daughter's room, brought down the book Eat This Not That For Kids [that I had bought and don't remember doing], and we made a list of the snack foods, cereals, peanut butters, jellies, yogurts, etc. that were on the "Eat List" and that they thought they would like. Hmm, that almost seemed too easy. Now let's see if they'll eat any of these "healthy" foods.

Last night, I was reading a fellow blogger's blog http://www.http// when I noticed she had written at the top of her post that her blog contained "food porn", and one should open it at their own risk. I read through her post enjoying the recipes and photos. I then wrote her a comment telling her how yummy everything looked, but that I would have given the blog a PG13 and not the XXX rating she had given it. My response was intended as a joke in response to what I thought she was joking about, food porn. She wrote back and explained that one of her readers, in all seriousness, told her that since people have issues with food, and that reading about or seeing food could set them off on a binge, she should add some type of censure to warn her readers. OY VEY!!! And I thought I had problems....

To end on a positive note, cousin Annie tells us that Sara Moulton, of Gourmet Magazine, says that "food should be fun and tasty". For good measure though, I'm going to throw in that food should be fun, tasty and nutritious. Another well-known celebrity, Cookie Monster, agrees. He began preaching to his young audience that "cookies are a sometimes food", but he never said not to enjoy them.

Quote of the Day: "Do what's right, not what's easy" Suze Orman [financial guru]


Anonymous said...

This makes me kind of sad. It took a while for me to enjoy food guilt free, and I'm not going back. I didn't use to be this way, having been raised that food is either a guilty hidden pleasure to be done in private, or for sustenance only. (Hmm, sounds like sex for many) As for the horrendous calorie and sugar counts in foods I occasionally enjoy, I don't buy the pre-packaged stuff, so the calorie counts don't come on it! I guess I'm lucky in that I don't have allergies or sensitivities. Some things affect me strangely, but these effects can be avoided easily, such as by not eating high sugar foods (including fruit) on an empty stomach.

I mostly avoid people, both in blogland and IRL who are freaking out or guilty about food. I don't understand how people can allow it to be a trigger, how does such a person live in this world?

Jeve (aka John and Steve) said...

What's life without a bit of indulgence. Generally, I eat what I want, just in smaller portions that way I don't deny my cravings and I get to enjoy food without gaining too much weight. I have to say that people who are too picky with their food really bother me. I have a friend who won't eat dairy and it bothers me because he could easily take those lactose pills, but he's too cheap to do so. I don't know why that bothers me, but it does.

Chris H said...

Hee hee... I grew a tomatoe like that last summer! Only mine looked more like a nose, so I drew a face on it.