Food Fight! 2016-01-20

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Food! Fabulous food! One thing every living thing has in common is their food addiction. Without food life stops. Finito completo. Many of us are fortunate enough to live where food is available and starvation is something we only read about in the paper or see on the news. I would never marginalize the seriousness of world hunger and hungry children.

This love/hate relationship with those of us lucky enough to have plentiful access to readily available nourishment is as old as life. One living thing feeds on the other. Being at the top of the food chain sure does help. Imagine being an antelope, lobster, salmon, or chicken. That would be wholly terrifying, wouldn’t it? All life subsists off other life whether plant, animal, or fish. We all need each other–some more than others.

Spices are amazing little substances enhancing our everyday chow-down. What was a few seconds ago drab and bland is now doing a tap dance on our tastebuds. God bless spices.

Everybody claims their own regional food superiority. The best place for Southern fried chicken, Soul kitchen barbecue, Mexican fajitas, Italian spaghetti, Chinese egg rolls, Indian Poha, Moroccan briouat, Japanese Sushi, German potato salad, New York pastrami on rye, Buffalo hot wings, British fish and chips, favorite Texas chili, Irish corned beef and cabbage, Jewish matzah balls, Ethiopian wot, including the all-time fan favorite pizza which pretty much every culture claims in one form or another.

Food fixation can, like everything else in the world, become dangerous. We can eat too much, not enough, the wrong thing, too much of the right thing, ingest allergens, consume something past its expiration, or spoiled altogether, be struck with salmonella or botulism or any number of skewed anomalies.

Diets are a billion dollar a year business. When and what to eat has become an unhealthy healthy obsession. Eating in, dining out, brown-bagging it, stopping by the grocery where we have a list but we forgot it or don’t stick to it, or perhaps picking up something on the way home from work. Our social structure is centered around eating. Shopping and then lunch, pizza parties, dinner and a show, cocktail party hors d’ oeuvres, birthday and wedding cakes, baby shower snacks, rehearsal dinners, school banquets, church potlucks, backyard cookouts, Sunday brunch, etc. Then there’s the home chef or in my case cook where cutting, chopping, whipping, mixing, blending, searing, broiling, grilling, frying, boiling is endless. We are now subjected to juicing where we spend a mini fortune buying loads of fruits and vegetables not to eat but to throw into a machine where it spits out a greenish watery liquid called juice that we drink while holding our noses. I mean after all, it’s good for us. I am certainly weird because I really liked the old way of just munching on carrots and celery.

There’s cookbooks on every shelf in the bookstore. I have a slew myself where the only thing that collection is doing is collecting dust. Don’t forget the Food Channel with celebrities cooking up the latest concoction in their designer kitchen with their designer cutlery and cookware, traveling to restaurants like my favorite Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives, cake decorating marvels where they make a running truck out of cake, not forgetting the food wars and cupcake challenges. Half  the commercials on television are about eating out highlighting the most decadent looking dishes ever. Who hasn’t seen a double-stuffed-crust deep-dish pizza commercial followed by a NutraSystem ad. There are doctor shows telling us what to eat and not eat one day only to switch the information around the next. Every talk show has cooking segments usually followed right up with the next segment spouting diet tips. Do this, don’t do that, it’s madness I tell you. Madness!

Food is bombarding us in all directions at all times. Don’t eat eggs, or this or that. It turns out many of the foods we once were told could kill us like eggs, coffee, or dark chocolate can actually be beneficial in moderation.

That’s It!!  That’s the answer to everything!  Moderation! It appears most of us can eat what we want as long as it’s in moderation. A mediocre word with a tough core. MODERATION. That’s that’s the secret ingredient. There, food mystery solved.

I’ll start doing that moderation thing next week, but right now there’s a bucket of popcorn with my name on it at Wehrenberg. Love me some popcorn, but hold the butter, please. I wouldn’t want to overdo it… Sandy

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