This has been a weekend of food. Good food. Lots of food. It began with a party and there were leftovers. I added to those and......oh, excellent food.
I was sitting there last night with an exquisite plate of roast chicken with my most excellent homemade cole slaw, and somebody suggested a little ice cream to follow. With honey and almonds, they tried to tempt me. I declined.
I love ice cream with honey and almonds. In my head that is the flavour of "ambrosia". But I was sated, with a really quite simple dish, if you think about it, and the ambrosia can wait. I am a very pragmatic hedonist, which is probably an oxymoron, but there it is. Eating too much causes discomfort and negates any pleasure involved, you see.
I've been taken to task for this "sensible" attitude before. So boring. Indulge why don't you? No. It makes no sense.
I believe in balance in everything. That doesn't make my life boring, trust me. It prevents an awful lot of problems. I have what they describe as a healthy relationship with food. I don't deprive myself, nor do I over-indulge. I could eat less, and become a more modern shape, but that would be deprivation, and I see no point in that. But I know when to stop to avoid pain. This seems sensible to me. YMMV.
I have this simple rule, I only eat food that is absolutely delicious. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive, just good. I don't eat boring food, because I am not starving to death. If I were dirt poor and obliged to eat boring food to survive, then I would. But I'm not. So I don't have to.
If there is something on my plate that is not exquisite, then, unless it was very expensive, I leave it. If it's actually bad, I leave it it even if it was very expensive. Fortunately everyone here is a good cook so we don't ruin expensive ingredients, but I have pushed away expensive food when eating out (and complained like hell). Like is too short for bad food.
Why consume calories you don't enjoy? That is just plain stupid. I see people do it. ALL. THE. TIME.
Example: Burger buns. You do not NEED a bun with your burger. There are many other options. But if you like having it wrapped in bread you can use something better. Delicious fresh Kaiser or Ciabatta, or even Pita would be far more enjoyable. And there are now some premium burger buns that are quite good anyway. But the standard "quilt batting" processed bun? Would you eat that on its own? Does it taste good? NO. So why adulterate a fine piece of beef with it? Makes no sense.
On the subject of burgers, the ones I made for a family party this weekend cost me $60. For 2 dozen burgers. I could have easily bought ready-made frozen burgers for that price, possibly even quite reasonable ones. But I'm in the habit of making them myself, they are vastly superior, and all the time I can afford it, that's what I'll serve. Come the day I can't afford to serve good burgers, I'll stop serving burgers. Cheap burgers are unpleasant, and I see no point in eating them.
I have been called a food snob, and I really don't care. I'm not a food agenda snob. I don't insist on everything being from scratch, or organically grown, or whatever. But if these are the tastier option, then doesn't it just make sense? Why eat bad food? All other things being equal?
I do not accept the poverty excuse. Nope. I have been poor, very poor indeed. I have been so poor we stole cabbages from a farmer's field. I have been so poor that I had meat once a week. I have been so poor that I've eaten baked beans every day for a week so my kids could have something more nutritious. I've never been starvation poor, but I've known what it's like to struggle to put anything on the table. I reject any notion that I "don't know what it's like". I do.
I never wasted what precious little money I had on BAD food. There is no possible excuse for eating bad food. So I don't.
If I get on this topic "live" in person, sooner or later somebody will prod my belly. It's plenty squishy. I have spare. It's awfully hard to sound wise on this topic when you have spare. I can blame genetics but nobody cares, so I say only this:
If I indulged the way many do, stuffing myself to the brim every meal so that I needed time to recover afterwards, if I snacked all day, if I ate more sweet stuff (which I'm not keen on, but I do have my favourites), and if I cleaned my plate every time, having filled it more than necessary in the first place, and above all if I ate bad food........I'd weigh 300lbs. And my knees would give out.
As I need my knees, I don't let that happen.
But there's something else, and this is where most of the arguments happen.
People are becoming food snobs about processed food. Their intentions are good. There can't be anyone left who doesn't know it's not the best option nutritionally. People who eat processed food exclusively tend to have poorer quality of health overall (including mental health, it is now concusively proven) and shorter lives. But the human body is remarkably forgiving and adaptable, and the fact is that people who fill themselves full of junk are not dropping like flies. Similarly we all know, or rather knew, that one person who was the poster boy or girl for healthy eating.......... and died young.
Instead of opting for real food choices, and getting on with it, these people PREACH. And like all preaching, it gets old. It gets especially old for those of us who eat mostly real food anyway, and then get a dirty look for buying a bottle of salad dressing. Get a grip.
There is nothing more tedious than a born-again real food enthusiast. These folk had a reason at some point in their lives to change their diet dramatically. Maybe a health scare, or a new partner who insisted, or a book or video that terrified them and caused an epiphany. It's great that they made this decision, but they are as bad as the ex-smokers who now pull faces and nag at the teensiest whiff of smoke.
(And while I'm on that topic, if you nag me about not living on organic quinoa and alfalfa while you puff away - WARNING: this may come as a shock - I may not take you seriously.)
And now they lecture the rest of us. The rest of us who were NOT giving long, cavalier or even arrogant rants about how they ate what they bloody well liked a a few months ago, and now they turn on us. Now if we open a bottle of Heinz ketchup they won't shut up about reading labels and how high fructose corn syrup will kill us.
Fanatics. They even check for additives in their vitamins.
Personally, I don't LIKE the vast majority of processed food, and I couldn't afford it if I did. They tell me that in some parts of the US it's cheaper to buy junk than fresh veggies, and I haven't actually done the research, but if you say so, I believe you. But where I live it would cost me double to buy rather than cook. So it's not a practical option.
But if you can afford it, if you like it, if you are happy with it, buy it. None of my business.
If however, you suddenly decide it's too expensive, too disgusting, or is making you sick. Then switch. And then shut the fuck up. We won't say "told you so". But really? Good for you, welcome to good, real food, which used to just be called "food", oddly. Enjoy it, and get on with it. You are not getting a medal.