This afternoon I spent 10 minutes arguing with my 22 month old about whether what she was eating was an apple or a pear.
Bunny: It's a green apple.
Me: That's a green pear, Bun.
Bunny (pointing): It's a green apple.
Me: That's a pear, Bunny.
Bunny: It's a green APPLE.
For 10 minutes.
I was thinking about food today because the subject has come up recently on a parenting board I frequent. Someone was asking what to do about their vegan-raised teenager who is suddenly sneaking around eating fast food behind her parents' back. Parents found out about it and were asking for help. Advice ranged the gamut from cook her a roast beef so she'll eat "good meat" not fast-food junk to just let her be. I'm of the "just let her be" school. But then again, I'm not vegan and never in a million years would be. Whenever people ask me what I am, I tell them I'm a Darwinist. I'm pretty high up there on the food chain, so I'll eat most anything below me ('cept I won't eat bugs, snails, brains, or 'nads). Anything else, though, is pretty much fair game. I eat meat because I'm waaaaay smarter than a cow. I try to eat organic meat whenever possible, but that's mainly because I'm not into eating cows that are fed...other cows.
Here's something that pisses me off. As an omnivore, I am expected to accomodate vegetarians and vegans when they come over to eat at my house. Do vegetarians or vegans ever offer to cook up a steak for me when I come to their house? Never. And I find that unfair. Why all this bending over backwards for the vegetarians?
Actually, the vegetarian thing doesn't bother me as much as vegans. Have you ever tried to cook for a vegan? I couldn't even make pasta once because the noodles had eggs in them. What. Ever. If you're vegan and you are coming over to my house, bring your own damn food.
There was an article in the San Francisco Chronicle this weekend about "Flexitarians." Apparently, if you are vegetarian but occasionally eat meat or fish, the new, more politically correct term is "Flexetarian." I guess omnivore just implies too much "creatures-that-have-a-face" eating. (Right now you can't see me but I'm making the universal "jacking off" gesture.)
And more thoughts on food.
I think the world can be divided into three types of people:
1) People who never eat fast food and will give you a jillion reasons why it's bad for you. (Yaaaawwwwwn.)
2) People who eat fast food and don't give a shit what other people think. (Right on!)
3) People who eat fast food and lie about it. (Cowards!)
I recently admitted to some friends that I had a quarter pounder with cheese and a coke for lunch one day last week. One friend gasped and said, "You're not supposed to TELL people that you eat fast food!" I thought that was hilarious! I am perfectly willing to admit that once in a while, nothing hits the spot like a Happy Meal. It makes me feel all warm and cozy inside, and I love that cheeseburgers taste exactly the same as they did when I was seven. Having a child is a great excuse to order one and get the toy. I can't do this for long because soon Bunny will catch on and want one of her own.
Which brings me to this: Maybe it's because I am a parent who happens to live in San Francisco, but there is this unwritten parental food culture here that you aren't supposed to feed your kid anything with transfats in it, anything with sugar in it, anything that isn't organic, anything you didn't grow, pick, and cook yourself. God forbid you should give your child juice. (Gasp!) And if you do, you better tell everyone within earshot that it's diluted with water. (Phew!) Even if it isn't. What's up with that?
We eat really healthfully in our household, probably better than in most because: 1) I love to cook, and 2) I didn't grow up eating a lot of processed foods. But I've pretty much stopped telling people what I feed my kid. I just don't want to hear any guff if I decide to feed my kid Kraft (not even ANNIE'S!) macaroni and cheese for dinner one night. Who gives a shit. (Plus, I CERTAINLY don't want to make other parents feel bad because my kid enjoys a garlicky Caesar salad WITH anchovies and homemade croutons, strawberry ice cream made my moi, and pasta which I make myself from scratch using my mother's old hand-cranked pasta machine. Tonight alone, she quite handily polished off 1/3 of a 1.5 pound grilled, marinated flank steak and as much asparagus as she could stuff into her mouth at one time...)
Why all the drama around food? It's a basic pleasure that people should enjoy. If you have "food-issues," watch this movie. Or this movie. Or this movie. Or how 'bout this movie. Or this one. Then we'll talk.
There should be no judgement surrounding eating. That's how people get all fucked up and anorexic in the first place. I wish people could understand that cooking is passionate and creative and fulfilling, and that eating the results is pleasurable and primal and...just so damn much fun!
Is there anything better than eating? Anything? I'm hard-pressed to come up with something.