Diet and nutrition have been elevated to a passion equal to that of religion. People don’t just share recipes for fun anymore. They share recipes the way they pass out propaganda listing the benefits of a virtuous life. The recipes include organic, locally grown ingredients, with instructions for storing it in an environmentally friendly method. Cooking anything else for your family will guilt you down to a loathsome, uncaring, gluttonous scum of the earth.
That’s right. My bread was not whole grain, my sandwich spread had lots of ingredients she couldn’t pronounce, and the lunchmeat — well, we don’t want to know. The sandwich sat in a brown paper bag until it’s internal temperature was 87 degrees. But boy, was it good with those Fritos tucked between the doughy-white slabs of Wonderbread! To top it off, the packaging all got tossed in the trash because there was no such thing as recycling.
I’m not saying I want to go back to that, but eating food was fun. You had to go to church if you wanted to feel guilty. Not anymore. There are food priests among us, folks. These are people with deep-rooted beliefs who feel that if you are not eating what they are eating, you are doing yourself — NAY! The WORLD a grave disservice.
It is the food priest’s mission in life to save your nutritional soul, and lead you (kicking and screaming) to health. But wait! There is no eternal life, here. We’re all dying in the end. The goal is to die as healthily as possible — perhaps biking to Whole Foods.
The rite of worship is the meal. It is in the planning, buying, preparation and consumption. Oblivious to other shoppers, meditation of labels takes place smack in the center of each isle. Children are indoctrinated in front of the bananas, blocking all access from other food clergy and heathen alike. Trips to organic farms are carried out like pilgrimages to the holy land. The meal is consumed in solemn reverence of the plants that sacrificed their life.
The food priest also hears confession. They use scary phrases such as “animal secretions” as euphemisms for wholesome sounding ingredients like eggs, milk, and honey. “Refined sugar” equals cookies and muffins.
“Flesh” is the definition for roast beef or turkey breast. The cuisine of our mothers is smugly called “Comfort Food” like a poisonous secret. Sins are encouraged to be confessed using these terms, the worst of which is pink slime, and punishable by up to a full month of liquid detox diet.
Unsought counseling is very often the first indication that you have encountered a food priest. You may experience unwelcome scrutiny over your cheeseburger with grilled onions and fries. The evangelist may laughingly toss out the nickname of “foodie” as if adding an “e” to a word makes it harmless. Druggy. Achey breaky. Owie.
In severe cases, you may be required to refrain from eating food prepared in certain establishments. If it is suggested that you discard of kitchen utensils that have ever touched prohibited edibles, it is very possible you have encountered an actual nutritional cult. This is dangerous, as you may never enjoy eating again, leading to any of a multitude of eating disorders.
Look, I’m glad we all have our religion, democracy, and plenty of nutritional models to choose from. I’m not picking on anyone. Personally, I tend to be nutritionally non-denominational. I love my congregation, as we welcome vegans, ovo-lacto vegetarians, omnivores, Aktins followers, and anything in between. We “pin” recipes, listen to each other rave about menus, and share samples. When faced with a meal, we EAT it, ENJOY it, and share in each other’s company. No one is moping, or preaching, or judging.
I try to do what I think is right for the world, my family, and my body . . . most of the time. Admittedly, I sometimes feed my disposition (which is often a pepperoni pizza with chocolate chip cookies for dessert). How very lucky for me that I have that choice. You may choose to indulge in pomegranate. Some people can only choose from rice or beans. Some can choose from thirst or unclean water. I’m pretty sure some would choose GM corn over starvation.
Which brings me to corn, and anyone who knows me well has heard me say, “Don’t get me started on corn!” So yes, I know the sermon. You’re preaching to the choir. And sometimes the choir is fed up (literally). I’m just asking the food priests to please stop trying to shove their communion down my throat. If I want it, I know where to find it.