I saw this long list of 111 quotes about food (lists on the Net are just ways to get ad clicks so I usually avoid them but I couldn’t resist these) and so I thought I’d offer a few of my favorites from the list, and then a couple of comments about the highlighted ones:
|What some call health, if purchased by perpetual anxiety about diet, isn’t much better than tedious disease.||George Dennison Prentice|
|Life is too short for self-hatred and celery sticks.||Marilyn Wann|
|Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the ‘Titanic’ who waved off the dessert cart.||Erma Bombeck|
|The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.||Julia Child|
|If you wish to make an apple pie truly from scratch, you must first invent the universe.||Carl Sagan|
|How can a nation be great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?||Julia Child|
|Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts!||James Beard|
|Plain fresh bread, its crust shatteringly crisp. Sweet cold butter. There is magic in the way they come together in your mouth to make a single perfect bite.||Ruth Reichl|
|All sorrows are less with bread.||Miguel de Cervantes|
|My favorite animal is steak.||Fran Lebowitz|
|It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.||Lewis Grizzard|
|Cooking is an observation-based process that you can’t do if you’re so completely focused on a recipe.||Alton Brown|
|Pizza tastes as good as being skinny feels.||Lauren Leto|
The first one (… perpetual anxiety about diet … ) really sums up how I feel about some much of the nutrition “advice” I see; basically it not only is wrong but it does just create anxiety. Tell me the gluten-free craze with at least 10X more people on that fad than are medically justified isn’t just a kind of mass hysteria effect. If I let any of the stuff I read about nutrition actually affect my behavior (eating that is, not ranting about its stupidity) I’d be a nervous wreck. Come on, folks! Lighten up and enjoy eating not obsessing over it (unless you’re an expert chef working on perfection).
And this one (… make an apple pie truly from scratch … ) was what really decided me to read all the quotes and make my list of favorites here. I see some of the stupidest cooking posts where people talk about “from scratch”. Right by cooking rather than heating pre-prepared in microwave, you’ve cooking from scratch. And what most claim is magical about it is somehow related to nutrition (the most outrageous I saw was someone who ground their own wheat so they could avoid the gluten put into prepared flour – learn some chemistry, idiot). I like making things from scratch, but frankly it doesn’t always matter as some things are just fine with some processing. Tomatoes for instance (as another quote indicates), yep, fresh tomatoes of my vines are wonderful, for a couple of weeks out of the year. What about the other 50 weeks, no tomatoes. Guess what, canned tomatoes, at least for making sauces (not too good for BLTs) are fine. Better yet, prepare your bounty of tomatoes and freeze them (as sauced, not whole, yuck). But really, the from scratch crowd thinks going one or two steps away from prepared instant food is some magical adventure, again somehow in nutrition, not taste. Then do go all the way back – plant the stuff yourself. Oh, even that’s not far enough since guess what, all the seeds are hybrids produced by genetic modification, so go find truly wild foods and figure out your own hybrids. Or as Carl says, invent the universe. The real point is a putdown of people who make little steps and claim wonders.
And finally (… if its bread tastes like Kleenex … ), good old Julia, I’m surprised there weren’t more quotes from her since as far as I’m concerned she started the whole foodie thing in U.S. (yes, there were people before her, but she made it accessible to the masses). What finally got me going on baking bread (after years of thinking about it, but thinking it was too hard) was the bakery departments in supermarkets here in Omaha. They had bread that looked nice, almost the same as I’d had in Bay Area where there was good bread. But the loaves were mush (literally the same as Wonder Bread which I once remember squeezing into a tiny ball since it was all air) without any taste. For the longest time I could never figure this out – why is that bread so bad, and, then I learned: 1) Nebraska has the second oldest population in the U.S. and crusty bread doesn’t go well with old teeth or dentures, and, 2) you have to have had good bread, like in San Francisco or Paris, to know what it is and after that you’ll never want mush again. Well here where biscuits and gravy are considered gourmet few people know good bread and they’re too small a market segment for the large markets to target. But even the smaller gourmet markets just barely have acceptable bread or even some bakeries that want to live under the artisanal label. Again, it’s the consumers who drive bread, not the bakers. So Julia is right and the answer is, for the most part, when it comes to food this is NOT a great nation.
So seize the moment (never know when it will end), eat steak and bread (but not too much, so you can then avoid celery sticks) and eat food for pleasure and sustenance, not as a political statement or trendy anxeity.