Blogger: Etta Wilson
Location: Books & Such Nashville Office
Weather: Warm and cloudy
We eat for so many reasons, and some of us don’t or can’t eat for a lot of reasons. Everything from psychological, allergies and other health issues, as well as poverty. Consider that one in six children in the US does not have enough to eat at home. Thus public schools in many areas provide breakfast as well as lunch for children. Some schools even send home packaged food when there’s a school holiday. I don’t know statistics on hunger among the homeless or the low-income employed on welfare, but state and federal agencies say the numbers of hungry people in the US are rising.
However, on the other extreme for those with adequate income, eating and eating out have become major pastimes, almost an obsession. We survey print publications and websites looking for the new “food experience.” Chefs constantly develop new food combinations to lure restaurant-goers. And what I find really astounding is that more cookbooks have been published in 2010 than any previous year! It seems incongruous while we are still in a period of economic downturn.
While traveling in France recently, the only obviously overweight people I saw were a man and his wife sitting near me at a restaurant. Their speech identified them as Americans, I’m sorry to say. I was a little puzzled to find such a trim native populace in a country that cooks with so much cream, eggs and butter. Then I noticed two things–their portions of food are small and a lot of them are either walking or riding bicycles.
What’s happened to us here? Have we taken consumption to such radical levels? Does a TV show like “The Biggest Loser” mean we know something is wrong, that some of us have a food addiction, or is it simply something the show producers hope we will find entertaining? And speaking of TV, where does “Hell’s Kitchen” fit in? (Note that chef Gordon Ramsay ‘s cookbook is entitled World Kitchen, not Hell’s Kitchen.) That show is not really about preparing food, but I wonder what kind of attitude all the foul-mouthed behavior may engender in viewers. Why hasn’t the Restaurant Owners Association called a halt to it?
Maybe we had better rethink what we are lifting to our mouths this Thanksgiving and perhaps whom we could share it with.