image by Sarah of The Sugar Hit – recipe here
The first reason it made sense is because I too have dropped a cherry pie in the cafeteria. And by dropped I mean that someone came up behind me and punched me in the back, sending the pie flying from my hands into a crusty, sweet pile on the floor. And by cherry pie, I mean that it was actually an apricot pie. And by in the cafeteria, I mean outside the tuckshop window. But basically it is the same. Pie fling.
The second reason it made sense is because of the whole woman/food/guilt equation. And by that I mean what the heck?! The concept of dessert guilt rang true for me – and let’s face it, it rings true for everyone because terms like ‘sometimes foods’ and ‘treats’ and ‘guilty pleasures’ don’t exist for no reason. Pie shame.
Granted, we know a lot more about what to eat and how to be healthy these days because of SCIENCE. But we’re also bombarded relentlessly with information about why we shouldn’t eat so many of the most delicious things too, because of NOT SCIENCE.
Butter is bad. And then it’s good. Oil. Bad. Unless it’s good. Sugar. Dairy. Gluten. Fruit. Animal products. Raw onions. Things from the shops. Things from the sea. Things grown in the ground. These are sometimes good but usually bad, apparently. It’s very hard to keep up and know what to chow down on. Faced with these decisions, more and more of us are probably having a glass of warm water with lemon and Googling desperately for virtuous fodder.
It’s a confusing kind of nutritional algebra basically, but no one knows what x and y are and the person trying to teach us is actually someone that was once on American Idol. Or something. It’s all QUITE hard and we’re left either hungry, smug or wracked with guilt a lot of the time.
Food vs people has now reached the point where, when you raise something to your mouth, there are flashes of diet book selling media stars playing out before you. It’s sort of like in cartoons when characters saw stars, except the stars are the onion eating, fruit eating, fruit-not-eating, grain not-eating, grain eating dietary oracles (and thankfully we didn’t just get hit on the head with an anvil. Phew.)
That said, it’s not just nutritional media stars (often of questionable ‘health’ themselves) and onion-feasting politicians (often of questionable character) that are fuelling this food = guilt thing. Many of us are constantly talking about diet (I do it too!) sending subtle and less subtle messages/judgements about the good, the bad and the ugly of food. We’re all trying to do our best and be our best, but in the process we’re fuelling a totally dysfunctional relationship between food and human beings. At its worst this plays out as orthorexia. At its best (if there even is such a thing) it’s a constant, nagging feeling that food is…. BAD. Ugh. Food is something to be suspicious of. Food is something to be measured. Food is something to be restricted. Food is something to arms-length.
Our quest to be the best we can be nutritionally has somehow resulted in us equating food with worth. Many are measuring their worth by the things they choose not to eat and a whole lot of this healthy eating is DEFINITELY tied up in the quest for ‘perfection’, hotness and thin thighs (despite protests that it’s about health and wellness). This perfection/hotness/thin-thigh connection is obvious because the thin thighs and ‘hotness’ are being flashed about very often by the people selling us their kind of ‘health’ food. VERY often. (I’m not sure what perfection part of the equation even looks like, but I know it seems a lot like boringness and joylessness.)
Let’s go back to that worth-related point – Many are measuring their worth by the things they choose not to eat. Denying ourselves stuff has become a badge of honour and a marker of discipline and strength. Further, people, especially women, eating the food they want to eat is now an act of defiance. A feisty, political statement. How did it come to this?
I, for one, am going to stop being part of this whole mess. I’m going to shut up about food from now on – unless I’m talking about how great it is or how you should cook a yum thing. I’m going to work on my relationship with the delicious thing that fuels us. I’m going to eat the things I like, in the way I like them. And I’m going to do all the other things that make me feel happy and glad to be alive too.
Have your pie and eat it too. Know that you are what you eat, which means you are delicious and mouth-watering. GO YOU.
Sarah’s Salted Caramel Bourbon Apple Pie (below) recipe is here.