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Food Culture: Why We and I Discuss Food

Food Culture: why do we and i talk about food so much? SuzlyfeThis post will likely come as a surprise to no one. I don’t know if I will tell you all anything you don’t already know. Maybe I will? I guess we shall see, yes?

story time

In the survey that I posted a few weeks ago, one of the questions that I asked about concerned what I discuss on my blog. One of the topics? Food. Because Duh, I talk about food a lot on my blog. I know this. I’m not stupid. Crazy at times and a little dumb or dense at others? Yep. But I ain’t stupid. 

Why Do We as a Culture Talk about Food So Much?

I think that there are many reasons that food is such a hot topic. Never before have we enjoyed so much access to so many different types of food–and we all know what a catch-22 this is–nor the ability to play with our food so much–to develop and invent new foods themselves as well as to fuse cultures and cross divides.

Food is universal, personal, literal, and figurative. We can consume massive amounts and yet still starve (like much of America, unfortunately), or small amounts and have everything that we need. There are food rules that are variously set in stone as well as declared that they should be broken. Food truths and lies. 

Who says Crohn's patients can't have veggies?

Who says Crohn’s patients can’t have veggies?

Food takes us back in history, across the world, connects us with those closest to us or with complete strangers. Food is now a culture; food is a religion for some; food is true nourishment. 

And for others? They don’t care at all. But the majority of the world, or at least the majority of my world, cares about food.

Windy City Smokeout Panorama

I currently live in a very food-centric city: Chicago LOVES to eat, and it takes the privilege very seriously. In fact, the Foodseum, a start up that I have reported on before for some other sites, is focused on looking at the history of food in all sorts of interesting ways. I love their three favorite reasons as to why they love food:

Food is friendship. Food is a language understood by all nationalities, backgrounds, and ethnicities through which we can share a common bond. Food is Family. For centuries the dinner table has brought families together. The family that eats together stays together. Food is Fun! Food is more than sustenance, let it open doors of creativity within you and have some fun! Foodseum.org

Food gives us a reason to spend time together in today’s hectic world. Because, as good ol’ Checkers fast food restaurant slogan says: You Gotta Eat. Yeah, you really do. And that brings me to my next point.

Why Do I Talk About Food So Much?

I know that sometimes I can be a bit too excited about food. It is part of the reason that my blog sort of defies labels as a “running” blog, or a “healthy living blog” or whatever. I used to do waaaaay more recipes than I currently do, but even then, I wasn’t really a “food” blog. And yet, I talked and still do talk a lot about what I put in my mouth (keep it clean, people). 

Feels as good as the Rockies on your leg.

Feels as good as the Rockies on your leg.

And I know that for some of you, you might find that to be a little bit off-putting, or maybe you don’t care and just just like pictures and scrolling through websites. I won’t judge. 

But for myself, personally, I had an epiphany of sorts yesterday when I was writing a post. Again, like the rest of this post: not necessarily something that you or I didn’t already know. But it was a moment nonetheless (There is a second part of this post, well, more of a supplement to this post, that is coming Thursday).

I was watching Anthony Bourdain, and someone made the comment that “we preserve our culture through food.” I immediately had the thought: I preserve my memories through my food selections and reporting them. I associate my marathon training with particular eating patterns (particularly in the morning): I remember how much food scared me following my big flares; how much it meant as a demonstration of my mental (and physical) health when I learned to let go, in large part, of the anxieties that I had surrounding eating; a blatant illustration of how happy I was by the freedom I had in my diet. 

fueling up marathon training suzlyfe.jpeg

For me, food reminds me of time with Alex (our al fresco dinners and our drinks that we share); my time with my friends (I will forever associate cheezeballs with Ragnar; Chickfila immediately takes me back to my mom and Atlanta but also my first year dating Alex and the Pav (a dining hall) at UVA.

Not chick-fil-a but close enough

Not chick-fil-a but close enough

Food reminds me of my respect for my body but also my defiance of it: our truce. Food was one of my weapons in the fight to take back my life after my diagnosis. For a little while, we just found what worked, then it was about reclaiming my right to have flavor in my diet. I couldn’t (and still often can’t) have much of what is served in restaurants, so I endeavored to make my own versions. That is why I am adamant that I make food that has modifications and can appeal and apply to the greatest number of people. 

And that love grew: Food reminds me to notice nuance: the layers of flavor that I always speak about are celebrations of the beauty of life and the beauty of health. You know what it is like to go on a bland diet–that first bite of something with real, true flavor is like fireworks in your mouth, right?

Windy City Smokeout Watermelon Suzlyfe

Food, for me, is a celebration of life and all that it can be; in the past, the present, or the future. That isn’t to say that sometimes I eat just because it is in front of me, and you know that I very much struggle with that. But I will never regret the food that I eat or the circumstances that surround the eating: detox is not in my vocabulary.

For myself, the food that I discuss on this blog is extraneous to life. If I didn’t think it was necessary as an explication of something or as a memory flag for my later self, I wouldn’t mention whatever it was. So, do I often discuss food too much on this blog? 

Yes. 

Am I going to keep on doing so?

Yup.

Am I going to apologize for it?

God no.

But I’ll make you a deal: I’ll keep it to the truly important, if you’ll respect the fact that sometimes, I really, really, need to post about that stick of gum and club soda. 

Food Culture and Food Life: Why We (and I) Talk So Much about Food @suzlyfe #foodiechat Click To Tweet

Do you feel in such a way about food? If not, what is your “food” for thought?

What do you think of foodie and food culture?

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