Years ago in NYC I had a roommate and if anyone asked him about a restaurant he’d visited, he’d always shrug and say “It’s good if you like food.” That pretty much sums it up for me, too. I just don’t get what the big deal is. Why do so many people spend so much time and effort and money on what they put into their mouths. Let’s face it, it’s just going to come out the other end and get flushed down the toilet.
America’s obsession with nutrition shows no sign of abating: gourmet foods, health foods, fad diets, bacon, anorexia, obesity, Food Network, diet cures, juicing, fasting, low-carb, sugar-free, fat-free, organic, paleo, supplements, gluten-free, superfoods. It wasn’t always like this. Decades ago science fiction predicted that regular food would be replaced with pills. (A utopia!) My suspicion is that people are obsessed with what they eat because it’s one of the few things they can control in their otherwise out-of-control lives.
I don’t have any particular aversion to food, or an eating disorder, or anything like that. I just don’t care. I eat when I’m hungry and I’ll pretty much eat anything that I don’t find repulsive (and the bar is relatively low here). I don’t eat meat, but that’s because I don’t enjoy animal torture. And even that’s not a firm line. I’m not above diverting a chicken wing from the garbage.
Barring certain medical conditions, I believe that as long as you don’t eat too much or too much of any one thing, you’ll be okay. And there is no conclusive scientific data that convinces me otherwise.
Sometimes I’ll just open a can of beans or soup and eat it cold — out of the can! Shocking, I know. Over the years people (boyfriends, roommates, coworkers) have given me shit about this. Many of those people are overweight. So you can shove your judgement up your fat ass, okay?
I also prefer to eat alone. Which makes me even more of a weirdo. To me eating is somewhere between blowing your nose and clipping your toenails on the privacy-desired scale (although nowhere near shitting or masturbating). I come from a large, blue-collar family and eating dinner was a noisy, ugly affair with frequent fights over the last, cold, greasy pork chop and plenty of dishes to wash afterward. So can you blame me?
I’ve learned to accept social eating because that’s the cultural norm but I still don’t look forward to it — and especially not with my own family. Kids are horrible dinner companions. Family meals in my home, it’s embarrassing to admit, include constant drama: picky eating, whining, and sibling torment.
I also can’t eat and talk at the same time (although I can walk and chew gum). This makes me feel stupid because everyone else in the world seems to manage it. You’re not supposed to talk with your mouth full, yet you’re also supposed to make small talk while you’re eating. Does not compute!
My husband seems to wait until right after I’ve taken a particularly large bite of something to ask me a question and then gets annoyed when I don’t answer him until I’ve finished chewing and swallowing. This happens more often than is believable. He thinks it’s rude, but is spraying him with food particles mixed with saliva more polite?