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06 April 2008

You are What you Eat...


Our prompt from Weekend Wordsmith this week was "What's on the Menu?". It made me think about the cultural differences in the way we as Americans feel about food and mealtime and the way - say - the French do...

Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote, in Physiologie du Gout, ou Meditations de Gastronomie Transcendante, 1826:

"Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es." [Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are].

What if you told him you ate pork rinds and cheese fries with bacon and gravy? Who would he tell you you are?

I think as Americans this notion escapes us. We eat a LOT of food. Copious amounts of food... in doing so we often lose the notion of quality over quantity. The whole idea of supersizing a meal, making it bigger, providing more more more. If much is good, more is better... But - we give precious little thought to the quality of food we are eating, the preservatives... We eat in a BIG hurry. In our cars, in front of TV, giving little thought to the flavors and textures that we put in out mouths...

I think we are missing the boat. We need to slow down, enjoy what we are eating. Turn off the TV - feel the food in our mouths, the texture, the blend of flavors... Wolfing down an over-cooked leathery burger in our car is a very different experience than sitting down with family or friends and enjoying wine and delicious fresh food. If we actually allowed ourselves to feel nourished emotionally and physically at mealtimes, how much different might we feel about food? If we slow down, appreciate what we are eating, we need significantly less to feel satisfied.

I wonder why we feel we have to rush all the time? My grandmother always used to say that we always have time to do the things we really want to do. Why don't we want to make mealtime more of a quality social activity? Why can't we just slow down??

2 comments:

mindicherry said...

I think the sad thing is that this American mentality is being exported as the rest of the world is plumping up to American-size.

I am truly trying to savor my foods more and slow down...no more eating at the kitchen counter or in the car. I need to be sitting down at the table!

DaisyBug said...

You are so right, Min! Along with violence, obesity is our biggest export!