Thursday, March 22, 2007

Changing the Way I Think About Food

A number of years ago when my parents were still alive, I was talking with my brother after his return from a trip home when he said, “You ever notice how funny people back home are about food?” Where was he going with this? “Whatdya mean”, I asked. He said, “Well, when they are eating breakfast, they are talking about what they are going to have for lunch, at lunch they talk about what’s for dinner, and at dinner they are either talking about breakfast, or about grocery shopping. And, all the people back home do it.” This conversation was starting to take a perverse turn. I suspected my brother had spent too much time living in California. “Well, yeah, don’t you”, I said.

Part of this attitude was cultural, all Hoosiers delighted in talking about food, didn’t they? Part of it was the difference between how I thought about food and the way my brother did. I like thinking about food. I like preparing food. I like eating food.

Part of the reason I warmed up to the idea of putting myself on a low-fat, low-sodium diet was the challenge of remodeling recipes. I’ve gone through various ethnic phases of cooking, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, French, American country, California cuisine, and now I was preparing to remodel my recipes the way that Michel Guérard did with his classic cookbook, Cuisine Minceur (literally the cooking of thinness). Only this time, if I used his cookbook, I wouldn’t add back in all the high fat and calorie ingredients he had so skillfully removed.

Sure, I am still obsessed with food, but this time, I am obsessed with health and fitness and with cooking healthy. And, this time, I have learned to appreciate the food without the fat, sodium, and added calories. I think the psychologists would call this sublimation, the diversion of the expression of an unhealthy desire to an expression of that desire that is healthy and more acceptable. Not quite transubstantiation, but I find it fulfilling nonetheless.

I have no recap from yesterday as I left my flash drive at school and my diet spreadsheet lives on it. When I got home, I found the leash around my neck was empty. So, tonight it’s pencil and paper. I’ll post two tomorrow.

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