The smell of pizza from the other room drives me insane with longing, and I know it won’t be long before I can sink my teeth into the warm cheese, sauce, and dough that defines one of my favorite foods. What is it about food that can just control us like it does? I think it has a lot to do with memories, and comfort, and the joy of sharing that food with people we love, and maybe even all of it rolled up into one. The love of food is universal.
We eat because we have to, right? Our bodies will eventually shut down if we don’t put something in our mouths, chew, and swallow it. And there are food groups so we know just how we should break down what we put into our bodies. Some foods are bad for us, others are good for us, and eating any food in excess can make us sick. Yet we sometimes eat until we get sick off those foods we like the most, and we try to purge that experience from our memories so we can enjoy that food again the next time it shows up on our tables.
Then there are restaurants, where we don’t have to make the food but we get to enjoy it as if we did. No clean up either. That’s a win-win, and it would be a win-win-win if we also didn’t have to give up some of our hard earned money to get that food. I remember sitting in a Red Lobster once, picking through a soggy salad, and thinking how much of a waste it was, to spend nearly 10 dollars on that when what I really wanted was a cheese hoagie. Mmmmm, how I love authentic cheese hoagies. And it would have only cost me about 8 bucks. Next time I’m avoiding Red Lobster.
But there are so many foods I can’t stand too; even just their smells make me insane with distaste. There’s pickles, and eggs, and relish, and olives, and whatever anisette toast is made out of, and peanut butter. Okay, anything made out of peanuts makes me want to gag, so why do so many companies keep wasting chocolate by pairing the two together? I’m not a fan of peas or carrots, either, but I eat them because I know they’re good for me (thanks, Mom).
Food can embody an entire culture in just one dish, and those are the times that are magical. When there’s just one spice that changes a meal from regular to extraordinary. When there’s just one drink that, consumed after a good meal, puts an exclamation point on it. Food can be piping hot, or freezing cold, and I could love either one, depending on my mood. That’s really the glory of food, because when I want a particular kind usually I can find it somewhere around here, or I can make it myself, or I can dream of it and feel good.
But the best thing about food is that it doesn’t judge me, and isn’t that all anyone wants from something they love?