A few months back, my cousin, who we will call Mr. Curmudgeon, in order to protect his identity, asked me "How many times a day do you think about food?". This was fueled by my constant posts on FB about restaurants I have been to, dishes I have created, culinary classes I have taught at work etc... I thought this to be such an interesting question that I decided to actually keep track of it the following day. The next day, armed with a small notebook and a pencil, I began to track how many times a day I actually DID think about food. By mid morning when I got up around 50 times, I decided to stop tracking, I had my answer. I texted Mr. Curmudgeon and told him and his response was "ya, that's normal" (insert sarcasm font). Now for those of you that know me personally, you know what else was coming, but for those of you that don't, there was a well suited fat joke inserted after the comment, cause one could describe me as being .............FAT. Not, remove me from my home on a forklift kind of FAT, but big enough to warrant buying the smallest size at the big lady store kind of FAT. For those of you that know me, I am very open to making jokes about my fat, as I often maintain my plus sized weight based on the age old adage to "Never Trust a Skinny Chef" and "MANY things taste as good as being skinny feels".
So before you come down on Mr. Curmudgeon, know that while I accepted the joke in good humor, the comment about thinking about food that much as being odd, was what really ruffled my feathers.
I can see that for a normal person, thinking about food 50 + times a day may be excessive, but for a person in the business of food, it doesn't seem like that much. I should have prefaced the fact that Mr. Curmudgeon is also a very successful professional in the restaurant business. Which is why I was so surprised by his sarcasm and criticism about my thoughts. That being said, 50+ times.....hmmmmm. this got me thinking, how many times a day do non-food based people think about food in a day.
To me, it seems that most people think about food ALOT without even realizing it. Think of the scenarios, someone at work tells you they attended a wedding, one of the first questions asked, is, what kind of food did they serve? Someone tells you they are having a birthday party, one of the first questions asked is, what kind of cake are you having? Most mothers responsible for the daily meals, think a lot about what they are going to make for dinner, what are they going to make quickly for breakfast, what is going to go into the kids lunch boxes, or do they need to be sent to school with money to buy lunch. I bet that if they average person tracked how many times a day they thought about food, it wouldn't be so far away from as many times a day that I think about food. For those in the food industry, I can see it being in the hundreds. Especially people that are creative with their food choices and their preparation. While Mr. C is in the food business he operates a national chain, so there really isn't any room for creativity, but even so, isn't one thinking about orders, quality control, or is a menu item selling, or even, I am so sick of eating soup for lunch everyday, should I have something different today?
Being in the food industry,I am constantly thinking about food, how can I make recipes more accessible for the non-cookers, could I incorporate the salad I had for lunch into a new sandwich recipe, what do I need to take out of the freezer to thaw for dinner.....and so on.
In my opinion, based on this generation of NON - Cookers, people don't think ENOUGH about food. Gone is the day of weekly meal planning, and this has led to a huge decline in the importance of family meals and caused poor eating habits to explode across our country. I feel that food for as long as humans have been on Earth has been the basis behind everything we do. The pioneer people worked all three seasons, just to sustain themselves through the winter months, their entire existence centered around growing, hunting, and storing food, so that they wouldn't starve to death in the winter months. I can remember as a child, going off to school and my mom telling me what she was making for dinner, and looking forward to it, if it was one of my favorites, all day. There was nothing like coming home to delicious smells of a nice dinner being prepared with love. This is one of the things I miss most about being a child and probably why I am such a fan of the crock pot now. There is nothing like coming home to a hot meal, even if it is one you prepared yourself. We as a society focus most of our special moments around a meal, and many times, the way we identify ourselves is by telling someone what our favorite thing to eat is. The fact that we have gotten so far away from the importance of family meals, or home cooked dinners should be alarming to all of us and we should all try to think about food a little bit more.
I am known for food, so of course I would think about it a lot. Most people associate me with a special dish I have made, or a dinner party I have hosted, if thinking about food 50+ times a day makes me an odd duck, well than quack quack. Get back to cooking people, buy yourself a cheap and easy cookbook and start experimenting! Do not steal these great memories from your families or children.