Food is a symbol of survival and success alike. The Lord promised to bring the Israelites out of Egypt and into a land flowing with milk and honey. According to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Marie Antoinette upon hearing that the peasants had no bread, suggested they eat cake. And Herbert Hoover is credited for promising all Americans prosperity in the form of a chicken in every pot.
Food is in fact one of the four necessities of life, though in America we are not nearly as obsessed over air, shelter and water. No, for us, food is the elixir of life. When we are happy, we eat in celebration. When we are sad, we eat to forget our depression. When we are busy, we eat to fuel up. When we are bored we eat to fill the void. Food has become the answer to our every question. Food is our lexicon.
I love you so much I could eat you up. I eat punks like you for breakfast. They are going to eat you alive. Hey, what’s eating you? Bite me. Chew on this my friend. Do you smell what the Rock is cooking? Eat your heart out baby. If you’re right, I’ll eat my hat. Yeah, well eat my shorts. I’m so hungry I could eat a horse. I’m not surprised, cause you eat like a pig. You’re gonna eat those words. Well, I hate to eat and run…
Anyway, in light of the new USDA Dietary Guidelines released on Monday, I am thinking that maybe we (are you listening Michelle Obama?) have been going about this obesity thing the wrong way. In short, we’ve simply been sending the wrong message all this time.
Plato said that the enjoyment of food is not a true pleasure because the purpose of eating is to relieve pain – hunger. Perhaps we would do well to remember – or learn anew – that the true nature of food is simply to fill our gas tanks with fuel… too little limits your ability, while too much is simply wasted.
And since I have taken the liberty of quoting Plato, allow me the indulgence of quoting my father, who like most Americans was obsessed with food: “Jimmy my boy, do all things, but do them all in moderation.”