Monday, March 24, 2008

Amateur and Professional Eaters Overeat

...A big and bloody surprise that food amateurs and professionals who eat for fun make messes out of themselves. Anyone who does not put and enforce limits on how much they eat is going to get fat and sick and amateur food enthusiasts (bloggers, restaurant addicts et al) and food professionals (food critics, chefs) are no exception. And it's even less of a surprise that some of them justify eating too much on the loony assumption that the medical community is wrong to suggest that overeating and obesity are unhealthy

[One of the founders of eGullet] said he believes the genetic component of weight and health matter more than moderation and exercise. Although his father died from heart disease, he thinks that the state of medical knowledge on the relationship of diet to health changes so frequently that it can’t be trusted.

Some of his views about diet and health border on the extreme. “I think the whole diabetes thing is a major hoax,” he said. “They are overdiagnosing it.”

I think that just like their factory-food-scarfing, trailer-trash counterparts, many so called 'gourmands' are following the wrong model of how they should relate to food and eating. They are too focused on stimulating their senses of taste and smell and the concomitant affect on the pleasure centers of their brains. (I refer to this as the "junk-food syndrome," where junk is synonymous with "smack," "horse," "number-one" i.e. heroin.) Moreover, their approach to eating is a denial of what anyone with the slightest degree of altruism and worldliness understands is a fundamental truth: food is a privilege and regular overeating is an indirect insult to everyone who is and has ever been hungry and malnourished.

And chefs who overeat to the point where they are likely to become sick need to revisit how they think about what they do and it's existential underpinnings. Chefs who find themselves eating too often and becoming overweight, might consider nailing something like the following over their kitchen doors

  • food is the material from which we build objects around which people gather and interact;
  • food is sustenance that we make to give or sell;
  • cooking is craft and craft is everything (and cooking is what justifies our existence);
  • all of the above are of equal value and importance.
A chef who is focused on this sort of stuff is not likely to get distracted by every tasty-looking thing that crosses his or her field of vision.

The Fat Pack Wonders if the Party’s Over - New York Times


The Foodist said...

I hear the old saying "You can never trust a skinny chef" all the time and I often wonder how people can still believe that.

Doesnt it make much more sense to see the person cooking, tasting, and planning your meal to look fit and healthy? Now Im being slightly hypocritical here as my weight has gone up slightly since being in school, and I dont look "healthy" (IE too pale, look tired) but besides the standard physical hardships chefs undergo on a daily basis (IE long hours, stress) I would hope the chef has enough respect for how the human body and food co-exist to be "health aware".

I guess a lot of this overeating of junk stems from us not knowing what to do with all the extra time on our hands. Most of the people I know who overeat do it out of boredom, or they feel required to finish every bite on their purchased plate... god forbid we take it "TOGO".

*Shrug* cant say for certain, but the comment about Diabetes seems a little far fetched to me.. then again we over diagnose everything from ADD to Depression on a daily basis, so why not Diabetes?

/End Rant

Tags said...

Say what you want about Jason Perlow, but I'll always be grateful he turned me on to HFCS-free Kosher Coca-Cola.

As for moderation - no worries.

It's only available during Passover.

Scotty said...

I could REALLY go on a rant here, but I will save it for my place at the right time.

Bottom line - I have High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol. My blood chemistry is pre-Diabetic. I am not overweight and my pre-diagnosis diet was darned near oriental. A year on the American Heart Association Diet (My season in Hell) did nothing. I have this because my father and his father had it.

The bottom line is that, while I have modified my diet to make better, less processed choices, I don't avoid any food. If you adopt this, along with an "everything in moderation" approach and get off your ass and exercise you can deal with this. After 5 years doing this my medication load is half of what it was and I still have my girlish figure. YMMV

Tags, Passover Coke should be on the shelves any day! Look for the yellow caps and rejoice! ;-)