Friday, December 7, 2007

Food Glorious Food

Why should we be fated to do nothing but brood on food, magical food, wonderful food, marvellous food, fabulous food/ Oliver! (Lionel Bart)

You can imgine how much time I spend listening to people talk about food. Too much, not enough, dieting, bingeing, purging, weighing, and so on.

What is the obsession we American's have with food, or should I say weight? As one of my psychiatrist colleagues once commented, all American women have at least a sub-clinical eating disorder, and a lot of men too. Which is a fancy way to say we're all a little crazy when it comes to food.

Indeed, generally when I have an idea I want to write about, it just flows. This entry, on the other hand, is slowly creaking along. How could it be that I would have no pithy input on this topic that I hear so much about and spend so much time talking about?

I was a little saddened to hear that the girls in my son's middle school class spent all day getting ready for the school dance. Hair, nails, makeup, I imagine. He, on the other hand, spent all day playing soccer and wandered in late, without time to shower, buttoning his (clean) shirt, apparently not too concerned about how he looked.

The food/weight obsession is linked to our general obsession about physical appearance. Are we that superficial, or does it relate to something deeper?

I am the first to admit that our appearance, be it clothing, hairstyle, weight, etc, signal things to observers. Gender identity, social class and interests, are all conveyed by our appearance. But can you tell whether someone is a caring, intelligent person, with a good sense of humor? I think not.

But could we try being more concerned with these characteristics, and less concerned with appearance? Perhaps the girls could have been reading the newspaper so they'd have something interesting to discuss at the dance. Okay, maybe reading a book? A magazine? Watching a movie? Watching a game? Anything other than worrying about whether to get French nails, tips or whatever?

How about some philosophical advice?

Happiness: a good bank account, a good cook and a good digestion.-- Jean Jacques Rousseau

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