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For the Love of Food
Food is certainly the biggest, most underestimated, contradiction in our lives. "The stomach is the way to a man's heart" and the old saying "You are what you eat" are just the tip of the iceberg. Hot dogs, apple pie and spaghetti are known as official all-American foods... where do we get that spaghetti is American food?
Consider, if you would, this whole food and man's heart thing. A few of us still believe this old proverb, but let me point out that it is food, especially good ole Southern food, that clogs a man's heart to the point that he needs a triple bypass! In addition, food, the kinds we really like to eat in excess, is what puts on that spare tire. How many of us really want our loved ones to be carrying around a spare tire – or two?
Hot dogs, apple pie, and spaghetti? No wonder we Americans have a reputation for being the fattest people in the world. Where did we get the idea that spaghetti as an all-American food? Spaghetti is all-Italian - yesterday, today and forever, spaghetti will always be an Italian food. I guess since we are the melting pot of the world, we can claim some other types of food as our own - but it's a stretch at times!
Speaking of being the melting pot of the world, have you noticed lately, how many different restaurants there are in your neighborhood? One can choose to eat food from literally any part of the world. Some large cities have as many restaurants represented as UPS delivers countries. According to the census report, some large and medium size cities have 240 countries represented by restaurants. Many restaurants now even allow you to place to-go orders over the Internet! That is truly amazing!
An incredible amount of Mexican restaurants have been established in the last 10 years. For the first time, Americans can get a taste of what real Mexican food tastes like. The restaurants of the past were very Americanized. That created a whole new genre of food called Tex-Mex. Well documented by various federal agencies, Mexican children who are assimilating into the American culture are gaining weight.
And then there is the incredible social issue of 'double dipping'. Most comedy shows have addressed it. Seinfield has an entire show around the great double dip. I was once at a table of 8 friends having beers and nachos, watching some final sports game or another and someone stuck their nacho chip in the bowl for the second time. I have never seen so many people stop what they were doing to look, open mouthed at the poor guy who had made the terrible mistake of double dipping. It was a lesson in social graces I learned quickly. Never, ever, under any circumstances double dip when you are sharing only one cheese dip!
Food, wonderful food... regardless of what kind of contradiction it is, we are unlikely to stop giving our loved ones the very foods we love the most, unlikely to stop double dipping and unlikely to deny our children all of those sugary cereals we loved as children. Some day we will learn to love it and live with it!