The Emotions of Food and an Ode to Burgers
I love looking at pictures of food on Instagram but am sick of seeing hashtags for guilt-free, eat clean, cheat clean, etc. Food is not clean or dirty, and the popularity of these hashtags says a lot about how what we eat impacts how we feel and think about ourselves. Why do we feel guilty about food? If eating something makes you feel physically bad or sick, it's our body's way of telling us this food is probably not good for us, or nourishing us.
One of my pleasures (and I'm not saying guilty) to eat is a quarter pounder with cheese, curry chips and a can of coke. After eating it I usually feel stuffed, and unable to move far. Probably a sign it's not that that great for me and I shouldn't have it too often. Mostly I'll get it from a chipper, Mc Donald's in an emergency, but if I want the best I go to Bunsen.
At Bunsen, the burgers are made with freshly minced Aberdeen Angus, fresh lettuce, onion and tomato, freshly baked buns. They're made with love and care, and are delicious. And this is what I think 'mindful eating' is - thinking about what you are eating and why. Mostly we eat for fuel, or energy. Sometimes we eat for pleasure, or as Rory O'Connell gracefully describes below an "item of food that is superfluous to my needs'.
What I'm saying is, think about what, and why you eat. Buy the best you can afford or access. Listen to your body, and not magazines or Instagram fitspo accounts. Eat based on what makes you feel good. When I say good, I mean what makes your body feel good, or just for pleasure.
And if you're eating for pleasure, make sure it's the best damn thing you can get. It shouldn't make you feel guilty, dirty or cheating. One of the best descriptions I've ever read of 'mindful eating' is a description in Rory O'Connell's Master It, on his love of a freshly baked sponge cake. It would bring a tear to your eye.
I like my cake fresh. I am talking same day fresh, and then I love cake. It is a pity that so much cake is forgettable. Inferior ingredients, within and without, yielding a brute of a thing that is often forced to sit on a chilly counter waiting for yet another poor expectant sweet tooth to be treated to mediocrity. Perhaps I am overstating it, but when you witness the reaction provoked by a freshly baked cake, made using good ingredients - well, it just seems a shame that there is not more fresh cake about.
Nothing compares to the texture, flavour and smell of a cake baked on the same day it is going to be eaten. Other than that, but with the notable exception of a couple of fruit cakes, I can leave them.
If I am having cake, which I generally don’t really need, it has to be fabulously good, a treat. Its excellence must override that feeling that this item of food is superfluous to my needs, that it is so good - and that doesn’t mean grand and complicated, which of course it can be, but so honestly good - that it will make my day better, and if I have to wait a week or a month or longer for another piece which will induce similar feelings, well so be it, I can wait.
What’s the point in diluting something so pleasure-filling with masquerading upstarts?