Improving Food Choices

In a world where wallet size dictates access to healthy food

This is post is adapted from a graduate paper I recently submitted. I thought it was important to be able to discuss it without academic constraints. (I primarily wanted to adorn my rhetoric with some wit, sarcasm, and expletives.)

Food. We need it. All the time. Not only for survival, but there are foods we turn to for emotional comfort and gratification—lascivious or otherwise. Thanks to advances in agricultural practices and the diversity of food retailers, the United States is rife with fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats. It is, therefore, ironic for a country considered part of the First World—that is to say, an industrialized, prosperous, and developed capitalist nation—to have an alarming number of its citizens starving, let alone without the pecuniary means to obtain salubrious foods.

Let’s face it… we all have food problems, whether of our devices or tainted supply lines. But the lack of nourishment is the gravest food problem of all.

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The Fall of Chipotle

Down for the count?

“How are the mighty fallen in the midst of battle! O [Chipotle], thou wast slain in thine high places.”

Okay. So, I certainly don’t intend for this post to be a lamentation or an elegy for a lost friend. In fact, I’m not even going to express woe of any kind. Rather, I intend to express something approaching the opposite for the company that reeks of self-righteousness. Let’s not call my expressions those of joy, eh?

I’ll start with the chipotle pepper. Basically, it’s just a jalapeño. Just ripened, red jalapeños that are dehydrated and smoked (which further dehydrates them) for several hours to several days. Of the two main types of chipotles, moritas and mecos, the former is the most commonly used in the United States. Moritas are produced primarily in the state of Chihuahua, located in the northern portion of Mexico which shares a border with New Mexico and Texas. Thus, it is no surprise that chipotles found their way into the United States. However, it has become inescapable. Rife in many Mexican derived cuisines (e.g. Mexican-American and Tex-Mex), the chipotle pepper has even found itself weaved into some unlikely (and ostensibly sacrilegious) edible forms. Who thought chipotle cookies were a good idea?

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Fast Food Recidivism

Why does it taste so good?

Why is it so cheap?

Why is it so unhealthy?

I occasionally find myself breaking my “diet” when my daily gruel bores me. Let me explain the quotation marks in the previous sentence. I hate the word diet. It’s one of those fancy buzz words the public loves to overuse like superfood, healthy (or unhealthy), organic, and all-natural. Diet—and its odious brethren—belongs to a group of inane and trite words used in food and supplement propaganda attracting droves of sheeple, the credulous, semi-literate consumers who insist that a claim must be true because it is endorsed by a celebrity. I think diet is so spelled for a reason; die is the root of the word because one’s sanity (often alongside one’s finances) is excised and extinguished. Sanity is destroyed piecemeal by diets and all the myths, pseudoscience, and, frankly, bullshit promulgated alongside them.

As I was saying, delicious morsels of fast food periodically find their way to my mouth. Burger King and Taco Bell are my favorites and are the two I can’t seem to shake off. Humans aren’t perfect. I know, a quaint platitude, but it is the facet of the gastronomical pornography that follows.

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Never Bring Too Little

As we enter the last third of summer, it seems as if everyone is in a mad scramble to enjoy the last bits of good sun, imbibe cold beer, and empty the vast larders of their local supermarket. Social events pepper the long summer months and one often panics trying to attend them all. I will impart one rule unto the reader that will ensure that one’s thirst remains quenched and one’s conversations interesting.

Never bring too little.

It is not meant to sound like a divine injunction; however, it would perhaps be more widely embraced if it had the tone of divine warrant. One ought never to arrive at a feast or gathering with inadequate quantities of drink, preferably of the alcoholic kind. This becomes substantially more important during family engagements or where the guest list includes undesirable company.

The rewards of abundance are manyfold. Firstly, a parched interlocutor makes for a challenging conversation. A dry mouth and gullet are a recipe for frequent throat-clearings that often interrupt the flow of a conversation. Staggering quantities of drink ensure that the windpipes are lubricated and viable for (hopefully) nourishing dialogue. Which brings us to the second reward, that of interesting conversations. As the inhibitions are lowered (in the vernacular: as less fucks are given), the philosophical and intellectual (sometimes the pseudo-intellectual) in one emerges. Staunch opinions become more overt and raunchier jokes are told. As a result we often learn more about the interlocutor than would otherwise be possible. Rapturous laughter and a great deal of mirth is often derived from speakers for whom one too many drinks are never enough.

Another reward: bringing excess drink ensures that one will never have to go on the dreaded “beer run”, which permits the merriment and frivolities to continue uninterrupted. Lastly, abundance compensates for the more penurious individuals.

No sin is more egregious than that of the empty-handed guest.

Sustenance

As Ebola takes its final bow and admits defeat in the United States, the focus can now return to where an outbreak truly exists, namely Western Africa. Do not be alarmed dear readers, for I have no intention of discussing this matter any further. Instead, we focus on meals.

Some eat only to sustain the body—to replenish energy and depleted nutrients, a purely pragmatic pursuit. Some eat to satiate their own lust for food—to have their brains bathe in the neurotransmitters of ecstasy and stupefaction that only consumption can provide.

But who takes the time to actually enjoy a meal anymore?

Unfortunately, the average person is often besieged with innumerable responsibilities such that it becomes a near impossibility to sit and enjoy a good meal, let alone with other humans. Between having multiple jobs, attending university, and maintaining something resembling a social life, one often must hastily (and forcibly) introduce food into the gullet.

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