The year is ending and I’ve just learned something disheartening about my friends. This adventurous, outspoken, tasteful bunch of folks seem to have largely fallen victim to what I call the New Year’s Resolution and Deprivation Machine. It’s that free-floating angst, captured and codified by media, and it commands us to “Give up sweets!” “Eliminate carbs!” and “Be green!” as the calendar turns over.
A few days ago, I polled my pals online and asked them to fill in the blanks: “In 2014, I am going to enjoy eating/drinking more _______. And less _______.”
Most everyone interpreted the question in a way that required committing to some level of deprivation. Almost no one responded the concept of enjoyment I had specifically included in the wording – and that’s what struck a sour note. Even those of us with the awareness and means to choose our food mindfully still have trouble enjoying it sometimes.
Tops on the list of things people want to give up is sugar. Fair enough. As a society, we do eat too much of it. But humble noodles? Wonderful pizza? People responded pretty specifically to this question.
But when it came to stating what they wanted more of, most of the replies were vague: “More green things,” “more new things,” and “more interesting vegetables.” All good answers, but they don’t exactly whet the appetite. It’s as if we’re afraid to even call to mind the foods that can tantalize and delight us.
Yes, we want to be healthy. But I don’t believe we get there by replacing noodles with “things I think I don’t like.” This is where we need a REVOLUTION against the machine that insists we must make those dreary – and tasteless – resolutions.
Luckily, a couple of my friends have the right idea. One replied she wanted to enjoy “more home-baked breads and sweets; fewer purchased ones.” Yes!
Another said, “I am going to enjoy eating more ethnic food from all over the world and homemade savory pastries, and bread.” Revolutionary, isn’t it?
Now it’s your turn. You’re part of this conversation about food and culture, too, here on WFAEats. We’re grateful to have you with us, and we look forward to hearing what you’re eating, drinking, and thinking in the new year.
Here’s to all good things in 2014!