Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Fanatic's Proposition

I'm kicking off the New Year by laying down a set of propositions that could be a platonic ideal for those of us who strive to loose ourselves from the soul drubbing machine (aka here as The Black Box) of mass-produced and mass-marketed food , quack medical and diet cons and the suppuration of self-serving half-truths that drip from the minds of lifestyle experts and real and self-imagined celebrity chefs et al.

I'll anticipate the finger wagging of those who will accuse me of lording it over others by telling them how to live, by emphasizing that the following list is NOT a command, it's a proposal and the elucidation of a potential ideal. It's also highly irrational in the sense that it is impossible to practice. But I'm cool with that. Billions measure their lives and behavior against abstract ideals that they know they can never reach. I don't see why I need to be any different.

At the core of the list is the supra-proposition that suggests that the only way to begin to take control of your nutrition away from the control of people who don't give a rat's hair about your well-being, is to do it all yourself: take control of the whole process from gametes-to-table-to-gullet. If you screw it up, you've only yourself to blame and if you succeed you can own that too.

Here goes.
  1. Do not buy food.
  2. Raise or catch your food yourself or with family and friends.
  3. If you can't raise or catch your food, then only buy food that is not processed.
  4. Prepare your food with your own hands (and with the hands of family and friends).
  5. Use cooking methods that extend the cooking process and reject short cuts.
  6. Pay careful attention to aesthetics and strive for simplicity in the appearance and composition of each dish.
  7. Eat slowly and linger long at the table.
  8. Pay attention to what the scientific community says about nutrition but do not be credulous. Remain skeptical while giving serious consideration to empirical evidence only.
  9. As a matter of principle and practice reject diets, dieting or any way of eating that is not consistent with what you already know is the right way to eat and that is not based on rigorously obtained empirical evidence.
  10. As a matter of principle and practice reject all advice about how to eat from "experts"who do not qualify their recommendations by letting you know that they are not absolutely sure that their advice is true.
  11. Never fully trust anyone who is unwilling to admit doubt about what they believe.
  12. You are the only one who knows what is right for you and your loved ones: cook and eat to that. Not even Dr. Phil knows you better than you do. :-)

Have a Great 2009!


Brian Hayes said...

Plato would be proud.

I have one request. This list is better inverted from #12 to #1 in that order. Otherwise I'll be starved before I could attain its virtues. :-)

Andrew said...

Some good points in that list. I particularly agree with point 11. And not just in regard to food, you know, where people tell you that certain foods are healthy where other similar ones are bad. Yes margerine I am looking at you.

Religion and alternative medicine are two bugbears of mine and could to with a healthy dose of intelligently applied scepticism.

Kevin said...

I particularly agree with your observation that we can attempt to live to an ideal that may be unacheivable.

The Bad Yogi said...

I'm SO there.

Thanks for the blog: always thought-provoking, interesting, fun.

Best wishes for the new year!

blondee47 said...

you know i have been reading and loving your blog for a while, but perhaps because i am suffering a hangover, i had to do a double on your nom de plume: 'the best sauce in the world is hunger' and it hit me, that actually for many that is not true, if like my poetry class from eons ago would have me dissect the meaning.....the best sauce is not hunger...forgive me, I'm an old broad with a hangover...

boberica said...

Didn't even read any post.... just wanted to wish you and yours
a happy new year! All the best in 09!!!
Robert McGee

Don Luis said...

I would add "If you do buy food, buy it from a local source."

It's good for the environment, and it's good for the local economy.

maurarose said...

I like that much of this encourages skepticism towards "experts".

Working towards an ideal isn't irrational. It is, in fact, the best way to live. This is not an unattainable list. The only proposal that seems impossible is "do not buy food", although is does conjure up a funny picture of my little back yard being populated by pigs and chickens.

Walt said...

In my situation, I may have some logistical problems with #1 and #3.

However, I agree with Don Luis that we should try and keep things local. In fact, I would go a step further in trying to keep to animals that are raised sustainably.

This year, my family has committed to not consuming any meat if we can't verify it's origin. We simply won't be eating anything if we don't know how it was raised.

Happy New Year everyone!

MessyONE said...

We're pretty close on 3 through 12, I think. I refuse to give up my Corn Flakes, though.

One of my pet peeves is the diet thing. I went to the gym this morning (I'm not 19 any more, I have to earn my treats), and all of the talk was about diet. Sigh. I know men do that, too, but women get downright silly.

As for the fads, if living an extra year following whatever diet means an extra year in the nursing home, I'll continue to eat, drink and be merry.

Ben said...

I agree its the Ideal: and in this world of ours if we need reminding, so be it. We are bombarded by easy fixes for things and easy food choices. But if we strive to do better, eventually we will in some degree. Thank you for sharing these sentiments, and good luck to everybody in 2009!

Larbo said...

When I started my blog recently, I had a similar impulse and composed a "Meat Manifesto." Chew it over and let me know what you think!

I agree that if we limit ourselves to the "food" available in the supermarket, then we have no choice but to eat what the food corporations want to sell us. I haven't bought any meat at the supermarket in years, and the more control I take over the meat I eat–from having animals raised and processed to my specifications, to making my own sausages, smoked and cured meats, and pâtés–the more pleasure I get from it. And when the food we eat is so good, we can be satisfied with less, which is better for us and better for the environment.

Thanks for sharing the thoughts of a fellow fanatic. Great blog!

MessyONE said...

Oh, the horror!

The Boy just pointed out that I *shudder* BOUGHT the sausage I'm using on the pasta (today is National Spaghetti Day, apparently), and that was probably the Wrong Thing to do in a deep and fundamental way.


Can I have absolution if I promise to start making sausage myself in the New Year?

MessyONE said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deborah Dowd said...

Such a great list full of common sense- we would all be happier and healthier (and thinner) if we followed them! A very Happy New Year to you and your family!