Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Culinary Catechisms

Let’s talk about food. Obviously having food around and eating it is an important part of our lives. Too often, I think, we are too casual about the things we put in our mouths and fail to take time to appreciate what we are doing and why we are doing it. Now, I don’t claim to be an expert to all things gastronomical, but as an armchair scientist/philosopher I believe I have excellent observation skills. That's gotta count for something, right?

The two people I eat food with and observe the most are my wife and the boy. My wife of course is a ruthless, despot of a dietitian. She lives and breathes everything food: she teaches people about it, she reads about it every day, she cooks it every evening, and, more often than I’d like, she gets on my case about it. I mainly reap the benefits of living with a dietitian. I’d say she’s taught me to consider many important things about food, like calorie counting and diminishing my carb intake. All that is great. But I secretly feel that she wants to condition me to the point where I have nervous tremors and waking nightmares about eating a brownie. Oh yes. I’m on to you woman.

My boy’s perspective regarding food is much, much simpler. To him, his mouth is his primary sense organ and everything is either food or not-food. This is apparent by the way he interacts with the things around him. When I give him something, I imagine his thought process is something like this: (1) Grab new object; (2) Insert in mouth; (3) Chew; (4) Swallow or set aside; and (5) Poop. What a simple way to look at the world! I have learned a lot from his way of doing things, and have from time to time implemented his simple, 5-step method to success.

Now, the above approaches to food are just two of many. Some take the simple minded position that the only food groups are rice, chicken, and 1% milk. Others foolishly believe that eating meat compares to jumping in the sack with Satan. Obviously there is more than one way to chuck food down your gullet, some maybe better than others.

Overall I’m a broadminded person when it comes to food. Generally I don’t care what people consider savory or nutritious. But I do feel at this point I must lay out and publish for all the world what I consider the irrevocable laws of caloric consumption. Now, in my opinion these laws were decreed from the eternities long before the world began. Yes, long before any man or woman set meat to the flame or water to the lips, these laws fell from the heavens and should be ingrained into every beating heart. They are the following:

1. Thou shalt not mingle any raisin-like substance with thy cookie. The raisin-cookie mingler shall be cast out and no light will dwell with him.

2. Thou shalt not defile thy pizza with the fruit of the pineapple, for he who does so shall be called a liar and hypocrite.

3. Thou shalt not blaspheme thy brownie with the whore known as nuts. The brownie blasphemer shall be thrust to the third ring of Hell.

From these laws flow all that is the Culinary Catechism. Many bad experiences have taught me that failure to abide by these laws leads only to disappointment, sadness, and uncontrollable crying. So go forward, my friends, and with this knowledge may you never shed a tear again from eating a crappy cookie.