When it comes to eating most people tend to fall into the Eat to Live camp or the Live to Eat camp.
People in the Eat to Live camp divide into those who generally think of food as fuel, and those who think of eating as a task that has to be accomplished but is pretty much a waste of time.
Food as fuel people tend to be athletic or “health-food” nuts and their food choices are either (a) tailored to maximize performance for their workouts/athletic competitions or (b) tailored for nutrients regardless of taste – kale, acai, beet, raw egg-white smoothie anyone?
Those who think of eating as a time wasting task can be food as fuel people but they aren’t always. Take my husband for example. While Jim has a long list of foods he won’t eat – mushrooms, eggplant, artichokes, shellfish – he will indiscriminately consume fast food at an alarming rate, generally when I’m out of town. Food is ok, fine or good, but I’ve never seen him blown away by a dish and he would rather poke out his eyes then sit through a 5+ course meal. He also only eats one meal a day. How did I marry this man?
In the other camp are the Live to Eat people. Food bloggers (but not necessarily healthy food bloggers), restaurant reviewers, food journalists, chefs and your friends who will willingly go with you to try every new restaurant in town fall into this camp. For these people, food is a hobby or profession and often, an obsession. They spend serious time contemplating such things as new ways to use chocolate and whether sous viding mushrooms is better that sautéing. They are the force behind bringing molecular gastronomy almost mainstream and are responsible for a lot of really amazing web content.
But what determines which camp a person will fall into? Is it genetics or environment?
My husband grew up in a household where most meals were eaten in and the person cooking the meals (his mom) was generally reputed as being phenomenally bad in the kitchen. Salmon with tomato soup and black pot roast are two dishes frequently groaned about. In contrast, my parents liked eating out and often took my sister and me with them, even to the “nice” places. By age 12, I was obsessed with Chinese food, taken with lobster, and a sucker for steak tartare.
On the other hand, maybe all foodies merely suffer from Gourmand Syndrome – a condition whereby the brain, generally in the right frontal region, suffers trauma and damage that transforms you from a non-discriminate beef-filler consumptionist to a French wine swilling, triple-cream brie connoisseur. I don’t remember suffering from brain trauma ever – but maybe I was dropped on the head as a child and my parents have been engaged in a serious cover-up ever since. That said, in the initial study only 36 of the potential 723 candidates with known or suspected brain lesions actually showed the signs – “unusual behaviors manifesting as a sudden compulsive interest in thinking about and eating fine foods” – of Gourmand Syndrome.
So, I would say the differentiating factors between Eat to Live and Live to Eat people are fuzzy at best. To me, the more important question is, can we co-exist, especially in the same household?
Where do you fall? Live to Eat? Eat to Live? Or somewhere in the middle?
Filed under: Food |