Topic: Books - Food
This is such a wonderful book. It's like she knew me, all of us. The author takes us from the 50s she knew growing up where everyone was enthralled with 'quick' foods. With convenience foods. With convenience appliances. Where no one really thought about what they ate but just ate what they told was good. Wonder bread. Bisquick. Hamburger helper.
She wanders through the years from medieval, and even before, to today and talks about why people eat what they eat. She talks about how we took ethnic food and made it bland and took the rough food of poor people and were told that now we could eat like rich people and have white bread and white sugar.
Most of all, though, she talks about how little knowledge we have of how we get our food and when we do know we try to not know. We don't want to know where our food comes from, we just want what we want, when we want. Most people in western nations never know what it is to be hungry, the natural rhythm of life not that long ago. Abundance and hunger. It's like we still have that craving for more and more that's never satisfied.
She talks about diets, her diets, other people's diets and how demoralizing they are as we struggle to not eat our abundance and yet can never not think about food. I know that's true. I was so smug in my skinnyness until I quit smoking and hit menopause and gained weight. It seems like since then I spend so much time thinking about food and what I want to eat, and can I eat it, and what should I eat but what I really want to eat. It is so pathetic. We starve ourselves in the midst of abundance because fat used to be a sign of wealth only now everyone can be fat so being anorexic is the new status.
I was never really hungry, but I know what it's like to not have much choice in what to eat, both when I was a child and money got tight and when I was a single mother. I remember how orange juice was such a luxury to me when my children were little and I couldn't afford pop or potato chips, but we were never hungry. Now I buy too much because it's such a pleasure to buy fruits and wonderful vegetables and all the meat I want. So I buy it and it rots because it's too much but I go out and do it again like I can't just buy enough.
Tisdale leads us down the roads of food and all it's meaning and angst, disgust and yearning, what we think food should be and what it actually is. She deflates our high opinion of our worldly cuisine.