This week in the world:
NBA finals have once again seduced me, and if my Celtics take it, I might cry. But I like you OKC, I like you a lot.
Ray Bradbury, who was always a favorite of mine in high school, has died. Yeah, I think I’ll read some more Bradbury soon. Venus makes rare trek across sun, which I wish meant more to me. Wisconsin Senator Scott Walker pulls some sheisty Republican shit. Warren Buffet is like so above recessions. And our British comrades are alarmingly serious about their jubilees. I like Jon Stewart’s take, as usual.
Let’s talk about food. Probably a lot of people talked about food this week over expensive food that was all about the food.
When did it become so bougie? When did the upper class begin using food jargon and standards as its flag, and waving it so vigorously? When did being “cultured” mean being able to talk charcuterie, burrata, and molecular gastronomy? Charred this, braised that, grass-fed everything. When did we start living in a world where a vegetable can be trendy (brussel sprouts) and a cooking method a fad (pickling).
It makes me think of that brilliant moment in The Kids Are All Right (is this the second time I’ve mentioned that movie in a post? I didn’t think it had a particularly lasting impression on me) when Annette Bennings’ character loses it: “If I hear about one more fucking heirloom tomato…!” Ugh, seriously.
At the same time, culinary America is doing some exciting things right now. How spectacular that we’ve taken one of the most basic human needs and turned it into an opportunity for creativity, innovation, and art.
But how am I supposed to enjoy the chef’s provocative approach to nose-to-tail pig consumption at that farm-to-table restaurant in that up-and-coming neighborhood if I’m paying any attention to the bombarding food theory hearsay getting spat on us from all “expert” angles?
First it was carbs: the first real “maybe we have it all wrong” re-evaluation of the Food Pyramid, circa the early 2000s. South Beach. Atkins. One thing was for sure. The initial six to eleven suggested servings of carbohydrates a day was gluttonous blasphemy and the reason why we’re all fat asses. They turn into sugar and latch onto our organs. So cut them out entirely for two weeks, and then ease back onto them, but KEEP IT TO A MINIMUM, FATTY.
And then it was like, whoa whoa whoa, do people even realize what’s going on in the meat industry? More blasphemy! People eating beef from cows who were fed puppies. People eating beef from cows who were fed other cows! Chickens given hormones to make them grow to full size in 20 days to the point that their little chicken feet can’t support them anymore. Livestock offering all kinds of different by-products being raised in the equivalent of a small-cage pissing and shitting on each other.
And then it was like, what really is gluten? Is that something our bodies are supposed to digest? Is that something our bodies are even capable of digesting?
And then it was like, what’s going on with corn? Sure, eating it as a vegetable (starch!) is one thing, but why and how are we converting it into sugar, into high-fructose syrup, and making everything with it? Maybe we should ease up on the corn.
And, ahhhh all these evil nasty pesticides, and processed foodstuffs. Get out of our supermarkets! Go organic! All things organic all the time!
And these alternatives, soy, tofu, tempeh, seitan, is that really a good idea? What ARE they? And oh wait, soy is destroying the rainforests of the Amazon, and is full of estrogen, more estrogen than even the femmiest women ladies can tolerate.
And yes natural is good, natural is great, but fruit tastes like candy for a reason: it’s all sugar. And however protein-packed they may be, nuts are ultra-fatty. And the wheat and grains that make our bread are natural, but they have gluten, and carbs. And dairy may be natural and rich in calcium and vitamins, but dairy is the worst thing in the world and the whole “we need calcium for strong bones” thing is a myth!
But vegetables are always good. Unless of course you cook them, and rid them of all their nutrients.
What am I supposed to eat?! Undressed salads for all three meals?
Let’s be real. Our social lives revolve an awful lot around food. Going out to eat. Meeting for happy hour. Summer BBQs. Dinner parties. Potlucks. How am I supposed to stay a social butterfly with a strictly regimented diet? Seriously, how does one do this? I want to know, and I don’t support people going to restaurants and not ordering anything on the menu. You gotta pay to hang.
I agree, we need to think more about what we’re eating. Obesity is not something we can allow to kill us, and the rest of the world is laughing at us. Michelle Obama is a hero. We’re not supposed to be eating Fritos or drinking soda all the time (if at all). Fast food is not food. Putting salt on your pizza is not okay!
But eating cake on your birthday is. And your friend’s birthday. And all the birthdays that you’re around. Unless there’s a weird week and everyday there’s a birthday of someone close to you who’s having a get-together and serving cake. Then maybe it’s too much. I don’t really know.
All I know I is I’ll break the rules on a lot of things, but white bread is not one of them.
I saw Forks Over Knives, and it changed my life. My roommate saw Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, and it changed her life. You probably saw Food Inc, and it probably shook your world up a bit too. Stay educated but don’t preach. You’re not better than anyone else just because you eat only raw veggies, or hunt, slaughter, and cook all your own meat, or don’t drink coffee, or only eat local, or were vegan before being vegan was even a thing.
But seriously, stop drinking soda. TGIF!