Thursday, July 30, 2009

Food should be true to itself

As you know, I have changed the way I eat, so I really eat fruits, vegetables, meats, and some dairy.
Eating like that really gives me options and I get to taste food that I have never been able to before.

But I will tell someone now that I want an apple. They always give me this type of answer:

"I love apples also! Have you ever tried it with Fat Free Cool Whip, a dash of cinnamon, a touch of maple syrup and three packets of Splenda. It tastes like an apple pie!!!"

This is where I have to be different now. I do not want something that tastes like something else. I do not want to fool myself anymore. If I wanted an apple pie I would make one.

A really good one! I do not want to dress up food anymore.

--Tony Posnanski, The Anti Jared

Today is the ninth day of Av, a month of the Jewish calendar. It has all sorts of historical significances, because this is the date traditionally remembered as the day on which both Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem and its sequel were destroyed. There are a whole host of traditions and laws which govern behavior during the twenty-one days leading to this date, and many Jews have a custom to refrain from eating meat during the last nine of these days. Under normal circumstances this temporary vegetarianism wouldn’t affect me much—I’m more likely on a day-to-day basis to eat grilled cheese sandwiches or breakfast cereals than I am to eat meat. But I’ve been working in a Jewish camp for part of this summer and they, I suppose, consider it inappropriate to repeat meals. This has led to some inspired choices by the kitchen staff along with some real head-scratchers (English muffins, scrambled eggs, tater tots, and broccoli—just about the weirdest combination of foods you can imagine).

But I want to focus on one lunch. This lunch consisted of fake sloppy joe meat, fake schwarma meat, and a selection of rolls and wraps. The fake meat wasn’t at all offensive; it was even pretty good, although the sloppy joes basically tasted like tomato sauce. But the decision to serve fake meat just called further attention to the fact that we weren’t eating the real thing. Even though the food tasted fine, the meal failed because the food tried to be something it wasn’t.

I can’t help but think of all the sugared candies and beverages we consume which masquerade as fruit. It sometimes feels as if we’re much more likely to wash down our cherry candies with orange soda than we are to, you know, eat cherries and oranges. Let’s go back to eating food that is real.

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