Warning, this is going to be one of my vague discourses... it will undoubtedly attempt to link too many things and to create a cohesive whole of at best fragmentary bits and pieces. Having said that... here goes.
What is going on with eating? Why are we as a species so fixated on masticating? Is it a afluent “western” thing or is it universal? On one hand you have the obvious eating “disorders”; obesity, anorexia, bulimia and new ones like “orthorexia” http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/aug/16/orthorexia-mental-health-eating-disorder... being obsessed with eating “healthy” and on the other you have the “foodie” thing. These days it all seems to be about what you stick in your mouth. Let’s break it down further, you’ve got the Food Channel and it’s clones and their flamboyant and “colorful” stars like Anthony Bourdain, Guy Feiri, Paula Deen, Mario Batali, Rachel Ray... and the Brits like Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsey and Nigella Lawson... and the superstar chefs/restaurateurs like Ferran Adria, Thomas Keller, toss Jamie and Gordon and Guy in there too... and all these food blogs (like this one) and then the twitosphere and facebook swirling it into one giant “stew” of media, screens, plates, licensing agreements, apps, instagrams, signature swizzle sticks, double mocha grande latte capa-frapa-chinos, 600 food carts in Portland, Oregon, 1400 buck blenders and glorified “boil’n-bag” sous-vide gadgets.
What is driving this? Where is this going? What is going on? The extremes are so extreme: Guy Feiri with his “Yo dude! Sushi, hot wings, nachos and Watermelon Margs baby!” and Paula Deen’s trailer trash donut hamburgers and diabetes drug endorsement deal... and KFC and the all meat, all fun, double down chickenwich, 64 oz big gulps, Xwide oreos pimped by Shaquille O'Neal on twitter... “hey! #fatpeople #type2diabetes, love’s my #oreos Plenty of #highfructose Ate 47. Same as @kobe @taylor @obama buy’m!” And then on the “refined” side you have one locavore heirloom tomato for 8 bucks, 6 types of finishing salt, artesanal single estate ketchup, no Budweiser at Whole Foods and molecular, spherified, served in complete darkness, percolated for 72 hours, anchovie/chocolate chip/poprock espuma. The fall of the Roman Empire is seemingly at hand.
How about sensibly eating stuff that tastes good and is more or less good for you? How about time with family and friends where conversation is as important as the chow? How about a walk and good laugh?
It seems like we are trying to eat our way out of a moral, emotional, social, familial and yep spiritual void. I think of all the current Food Gods out there Mark Bittman might be closest to my point of view (OK... he did come to my beloved España with Mario and his shorts and red crocks and Gwyneth to drive around in various Mercedes Benzes and eat ham from pet pigs... but I forgive him). Eat well, eat rationally, don’t obsess, keep it simple and make sure it tastes good. I’d also add eat pie on a regular basis.
OK I now get off the soapbox and back to the laundry.