Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Junk the junk

Why is the term junk food narrowed to a particular set of foods? When so many are so much more deserving of it? Although it is obvious that people of all classes eat hamburgers/fried chicken, french fries, or chips as we call them over here, we still associate them with the lower orders.

Yet class has no bearing whatsoever on the desire and ability to produce good tasty food, we must know this, as we constantly here talk about peasant dishes and how wonderful and ingenious they are.

If you want to talk about junk, what about the uninspired, deracinated mish-mash, of pretention that is served up in certain types of urban bistro catering to certain types who have convinced themselves that they have elevated food sensibilities way above the hoi polloi?

Food that is simplistic, not simple though it often tries to pose as this, that is you get a piece of fancy bread, toast it, drizzle it with olive oil and then you then lean it artfully against some kind of protein, this kind of arrangement is supposed to hide the fact that this is just, a badly made sandwich, impractical to eat without love, only with plenty of life draining attitude, of what? 'I'm not common', presumably, but really who cares? It's a sandwich, and it won't look any prettier when its going down your gullet.

They say you eat with your eyes, but their are plenty of much loved dishes around this wide world that have been beat up by the ugly stick and remain highly favoured and enjoyed, by those who aren't shallow enough to reject good nourishing meals that are all arrangement and no substance.

I remember a magazine feature, on two families, one with a child that was fat and one with thin children. They showed what purported to be some of their everyday meals and the latter family, presented a baked potato with vegetable margarine and felafels-there might have been some greenery of some kind-but I was mesmerized by someone who had such a disconnect with what a meal is, that she had no sense of embarrassment about presenting this as representative of, ahem, her cuisine, I pitied her children a little.

Mind you, I didn't think overly of the other family's meals, but one of them was a roast dinner with three veg including potatoes, which is a good old favourite.

They of course got the usual fatuous nutritionist, has there ever been a more superfluous profession? Who predictably found favour with the starch protein overloaders who were exonerated because, they were nutritionally correct by their absurd and and often deranged criterion of disordered eating.

It has struck me for a while that it is unwise to call rich or calorie dense food junk, if we are supposed to be concerned with calories and we insist on eating anything that has a good measure of them, we should be marking this with an attitude of; this has a serious measure of calories, let's enjoy every scrap as if it were our last. Dismissing it as junk encourages us not to savour it, it leads more to us being in denial and being distracted in case we become aware of our sense of shame at our failure to eat in a more unreasonable and disordered manner. It's a form of waste, it's a bit like buying socks wearing them once and throwing them away.

We should hold these foods in more reverent and rapt attention, free of ill will of any kind toward ourselves for consuming them, or the food themselves, leaving us free to fully savour and enjoy.

Respect yourself, if you can't respect what you eat, don't eat it, if you can't not eat it, then you must respect it.


  1. Nicely put. I love the idea of respecting your food!

  2. Thank you April, I've seen your site before- I really like the title which eptiomises self acceptance- yeah I am a shape, this one; what of it?!