Taking food personally???

Joined Aug 11, 2000
Well last night I had the finale gourmet mushroom meal...Spanish whole grilled lamb, aioli, lemon basil pesto, romensca, tomatoes with white anchovies, green salad with aged sherry vinager, gazpacho, semolina bread, fingerlings and chanterelles, morels sauteed, Sangria, flan, and strawberries, guava paste and cheeses, olives, meats and almonds with dry sherry for apps.
So later after everyone left I was talking to the host (a pottery teacher at a local college) and her husband....he made the comment that he doesn't take food personally...it is just a necessity of life.
I've known there are alternative thinkers out there....but it hit home again....many just eat and don't think about it too much.
When I started reading the thread on irritants and cold food, this conversation sauntered through my grey cells again. I've started paying closer attention to the non-adventuresome and the "eat as a function group"....They seem to like plain good food but they don't seek it....Thoughts? and I have family members that are very much like that (genetic or social or why do you think it matters so much to you???)
Joined Mar 13, 2001
Hi Shroom,

It may be more a culture thing than genetic. I grew up with a Pastry chef in the house (my Grandmother) and she was excellent with savory foods as well. Grandfather was French, that probably explains it. For us, food was a celebration, rather than bare necessity or sustenance.

On the other hand, hubby's mom did not have such a great interest in cooking. She actually hated cooking. Hubby grew up with lots of pot pies and Swanson TV Dinners. He discovered great food much later in life and despite the fact that he appreciates my cooking, the exercise of eating still represents sustenance rather than pleasure.


[ July 16, 2001: Message edited by: Kimmie ]
Joined Oct 5, 2001
Dear ShroomGirl:

What a wonderful topic!

While I was living in Europe, I had never met anyone who thought that food is a necessity and something that we need to do to survive. Food in our culture is a celebration and it is treasured as a means of bringing friends and family together. Food becomes the reason to gather together exchange ideas and emotions and it assited not only in our physical development but also in our mental, spiritual and emotional. Even in the Army, the only time enlisted men were allowed not to stand up in officer's presence was during meal time.

America was an eye opener for me. :eek: Cafes where people drunk coffee to "wake up", restaurants that promised to serve you in less than ten minutes, noisy restaurants that restricted conversation and encouraged table turnover, fast food places that people refer to as "restaurants" and finally people who "ate on the go" (while walking on a street, in their car, at the office, etc. ...). Vitamin stores were another shock to me. Instead of eating healthy and a variety of foods, Americans compensate their lack of nutrition with vitamins and other "healthy" nutritional supplements that otherwise would have no reason to exist. And finally, meal substitudes such as "bars" or "drinks" that claim to replace a meal and give you energy to continue going...

As Europe becomes more of a competitive society just like the US has been for the past decades, I see similar trends developing in Europe but in smaller scale. I am looking with great interest at Starbucks' venture in Austria in order to determine the scale of the problem in Europe.

I love this subject but I have to get back to work! I would love to know what others think of it.

Joined Nov 19, 1999
Papa, I have to agree with you. When I first discovered Cheftalk I was one of those people who thought of food merely as sustenance. I used to get irked with people who were fussy about what they ate. Coming from a family with a low income and six kids, we ate what was in front of us or else :) I couldn't understand why the girls at the sorority house loved and fussed so over my meals. To me it was just food. I had an endless budget and was having fun creating. Then I learned your principle of slow food and realized that although food is a physical thing, it also feeds your mind and spirit! That knowledge still stuns me! Now my house is always filled with family members. Happy people who share in the spirit. I'm always feeding people, and it is the best summer of my life. Because of your lesson, Papa, my cup surely runneth over :)
Joined Mar 4, 2000
Loving food must depend on how you are raised, and what activities and attitudes one associates with eating.

This is an interesting topic. Papa makes a good point about the use of vitamins and meal replacements. How is it that we are becoming more aware and educated about food, and yet these food substitutes still sell so well?

We belong to a society where fads and gimmics for health are promoted, more than eating well and in moderation. I think that is where the conflict lies.
Joined May 1, 2001
There is a third group, of which my family was typical. They enjoyed the sociability of a meal, but had no idea what good food might be. meat, potatoes, string beans, period. Spices: salt, pepper, paprike (in small amount for color).

It took me 10 years to educate my brothers' tastes.
Joined Aug 29, 2000
My husband is one of those who'll eat plain food and be very happy. He grew up eating a very limited menu because of allergy and other health problems among other members of his family. His mother even apologized to me that the situation had ruined his interest in eating interesting food, knowing that I love to cook. He can discern mediocre or bad food from good stuff, but given the choice, would eat sandwiches or very, very plain food for lunch and dinner day after day. the idea of fine dining is totally lost on him. :rolleyes:
Joined Mar 17, 2001
Interested to read these experiences. As my husband grew up he found that food was one area of his life he could decide for himself. He made his own food and didn't really learn to eat a good range of foods with the family. I think he survived college on toast and pizza! However he is gradually enjoying more things that he now loves.

The way I dealt with it was I learnt not to make an issue of a particular dislike. For him, it's important that he has control over what he eats, and I've been most successful in introducing him to foods (mushrooms, spices...) where I've introduced it gently alongside foods he does like, and never pushed the issue or made him feel embarrassed about it. It can be a sensitive thing for him, and means that invitations to meals with friends can be daunting.

I sometimes worry at the effect it has on my cooking - I find myself minimising the number of things that only I will eat (cooking to share is more fun), which means I sometimes don't 'eat my greens' as I otherwise love to do.

Eating out is something he just didn't do before went out (dated) together, but since we met it's been a good way to be adventurous but in a way that he can still make his own choices. I used to think food would always be a point of difference, but we've learnt from each other. For instance, he's taught me to cook smart and not keep going till I drop!

[ July 16, 2001: Message edited by: Plum ]
Joined Nov 15, 2000
Within my group of friends we have discussed just this topic. I come from a family that looked upon food as a celebration, comfort, love, togetherness, and when it was exceptionally good a thing to marvel at. We had something different every night for my mother studied culinary arts when I was younger and she later became an instructor, caterer and also worked as a pastry chef.
I have friends though that are also chefs that came from a meat and potatoes type of family in which food was substinance and nothing more.They have a talent for cooking and pursued it. Found they loved food and spend some of their time explaining their passion for food to their family.

How much energy your family puts into presenting variety and appreciation of food is important, but I think others find they have an interest or fling for cooking (and it truely is a talent) and discover a whole new world out there. If that fling or interest is not there the energies go to some other area. Just like, some people go crazy over sports, while others cannot see the interest in it. So the enviornment as well as the intrinsic ability or interest has a great deal to do with it.


Joined Apr 4, 2000
This is very sad. Imagine not deriving pleasure from food. It’s something you have to do everyday you may as well enjoy it.

This idea is so bizarre to me I can’t even imagine what it must be like for people like that.
Joined Apr 30, 2001
This is a really interesting topic. The diet people have been telling us for years that we shouldn't enjoy food. "Eat to live, don't live to eat." We should not eat fat, not eat carbohydrates, not eat red meat, etc. We should chew our food methodically at least 20 times and not engage in any enjoyable activities while we eat --- eating is serious business and we shouldn't be distracted by anything that might be fun.

The list changes from week to week about what we should or shouldn't eat, and how we should or shouldn't prepare it. There is a whole group of us out here that would be embarassed to admit that we enjoy food. Food is only fuel to keep your body running, nothing frivolous about that.

In addition, we're supposed to be doing 29 things at once and grabbing a quick bite -- or nutritious shake shows how productive and responsible we are. We're proud of being too busy to prepare a meal or sit down and eat it. And we complain that the TV dinner takes 7 minutes to nuke, we simply don't have that time to waste.

I hate all this guilt about food and eating. It doesn't seem to have led us toward eating a healthy balance of a variety of foods - instead, we are eating worse and worse and simply feeling more guilty about it.

End of rant.
Joined Oct 15, 2000
Of course I take food personally. My wife, however, did not before she met me. I love her dearly but she could not boil water when we met. That is changing slowly. She is getting these "Taste of Home" magazines(or something like that) and is actually using them and cooking from them. I came home from work the other night to a mexican noodle dish and lemon mousse. BOTH VERY GOOD. I was so proud. I take a big sense of pride in knowing that my children are eating foods that are actually fresh and prepared properly and not ordered from a clowns face or thrown in the microwave. Needless to say, there are no "Lunchables" in my home. It never ceases to amaze me how few people my age(33) know how to cook. Poor fools.
Joined Mar 13, 2001
Talking about France, do you know what the Red Cross gives to blood donors post transfusion to build up their strength?

A glass of wine and brie!!!

Here, it's coffee and a bad muffin!

[ July 17, 2001: Message edited by: Kimmie ]
Joined Aug 14, 2000
I think it is hard to pinpoint what causes someone to either be drawn to food or ambivilent about it. There have been hints here that maybe it is enivronment. My mother, from whom I get all of my culinary interest and inspiration, grew up in a house where, except for the cookies, everything was boiled. Thankfully she rebelled :) I grew up in a house where food was truly appreciated and enjoyed. As the french say, chacun a son gout(sp). I can't for the life of me figure out why somone would collect stamps :)
Joined Feb 21, 2001
nancya makes a good point at the end of her post. I've been cooking and baking professionally for 26 years and I am scared to death to eat anything I'm not "supposed" to. How can you eat a balanced diet working in a kitchen where you can have a bite of this and a nosh of that all day long? Who has that kind of self-control? Plus, you wind up working right through your mealtimes anyway. I'm surrounded in my home by cookbooks and I know I will more than likely never make anything out of them. That's depressing. Then there's the other extreme. Guy across the street from me, a gifted three-fingered woodworker, cooks all afternoon and actually sits down and enjoys it! He's got that Weber kettle going 10 months out of the year and he gets truly creative with it. He's ordering in white truffles for his risotto, buys himself the good balsamic vinegar, gets olive oil from his gualiones in the old country and homemade soppresata from his pallies in the next town. Makes me crazy that I don't have the nerve to layer the liverwurst and red onion on one of my own stupid loaves of bread. And I'll read MFK Fisher and Calvin Trillin into the night.


Joined Apr 4, 2000
In France, food is now part of the curriculum. By this, they want to show kids that there is more to food then McDonald. Professionals are teaching kids about different foods and they also make sure kids taste a wide variety of food.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
Well I'm back my friends....I've gone the southern Mo. junket...
More than a few of my group rap poetry about food...most have not paid more than $30 pp
for a meal....but to think good local food comes prepacked is pretty discouraging.
So....I'll type more tomorrow on my trip.
Joined Feb 4, 2001
These are sweeping generalities BritCook. If all us Brits are only interested in bland and boring, how come the T.V is wall-to-wall chefs and cooking? Whilst perhaps the quality of 'T.V. Dinners' may be questionable, the varity is massive. If you remember the Birds Eye Roast Beef Dinner you'll know what I mean. When I opened my place in East Anglia, the customers thought they were being robbed if they could see the pattern on the plate. Things are changing. The food has to be good around here to succeed. I worry about the young. My youngest brother lives on Pizza etc and thinks he's a cook when he makes Chilli. He also eats my food, but does he know the difference?
Joined Jan 26, 2001
I remember being so jealous of other kids when I was growing up. Instead of Twinkies and Hostess cupcakes, I was sent to school with homemade granola, grain bread sandwiches, fruit juice, and homemade fruit leather. When I was young, those foods seemed so plain compared to the overprocessed commercialized foods my friends were eating.

Now, I don't really buy pre-packaged over-processed food, except for canned soups. I have so much more enjoyment of making things on my own and experimenting with recipes, etc. So I'm grateful for being taught early on how making things yourself felt.

My family, however, only goes to two restaurants total, both Chinese. They don't really believe in venturing out. It was wonderful when I went to college, and even better when I started dating, because then you have an excuse for going to all sorts of different places and trying everything new.

I can almost pinpoint the year when my tastebuds started changing. I will try ANYTHING now and usually enjoy it. Food for me is an adventure. When I'm hungry, if I'm looking for something to eat in my kitchen and nothing sounds good, I can't eat. It definitely isnt' about simple function at all. My husband and I have been guilty of whining "there's nothing to eat" with cupboards full of food because we both get in food moods.

In fact, now that I'm thinking about it, sushi sounds awfully good right now....


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