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Is There A Place For Throwbacks Like Me?

January 30, 2012

I’m a throwback to another time.  I realize it and I embrace it.  Not to the point of rejecting anything modern, like my brother (love ya man!), but I don’t worry about being hip and cool and up on the latest fads and fashions.  Especially where food is concerned.

When I bought my pan the other day on Amazon, there was a little promotional video from Cuisinart on the page where the salesperson talked about how great the cookware was for cooking “classic as well as more modern” fare.  I wondered what that meant.  What is modern cooking, and what would cookware designed specifically for it look like?

I suppose “modern” cooking would encompass all the “right” approaches to cooking and eating.  No saturated fats.  High Omega-3’s.  Low carb.  Fresh fruits and vegetables.  And, at the height of modern enlightenment, no meat.  Now, beyond the first item, on which classic cooking has to be cut a break as the classic cooks had no idea what saturated fats were, and the last, which I’ll discuss henceforth, where is it that classic cooking differs so much?

I think by “classic” most people would mean classic French cooking.  But that cooking certainly uses its share of fish and fresh fruits and veggies.  High in fat, to be sure, but as I heard a cook on Bourdain’s show last night say, that’s where the flavor is.  And, in classic Paula Deen style, they were cooks not doctors.

Now, you might say, in light of all this new enlightenment, we should take it into account and change the way we cook and eat.  Fine.  But to what extent?  And following exactly what?  I have heard so many studies in my years that have come to be contradicted later that I can’t keep up with them all.  As I said previously, yes, I’m a cynic.  And to what extent must we change?  Is it ok if I add more fish to my diet overall, or do I need to do away with red meat entirely or become a vegetarian?

Thanks to the blog awaitingplace (thanks for following!), I learned what a pescetarian is.  Someone who eats dairy and fish, but otherwise doesn’t eat the flesh of animals.  Now I will admit to not understanding that philosophy, or its cousin, vegetarianism, but maybe through these writings I will learn.  To me, it just seems like so much of those choices are driven by guilt.

Our modern society is big on guilt.  You should feel guilty for driving an SUV, for smoking, for eating fatty foods, for eating animals at all, for not “paying your fair share”, for being male, for being a throwback Neanderthal.  Well, personally, I’ll have the ribeye, medium rare, and a baked potato loaded up, hold the guilt.

As I said, I don’t reject everything modern.  And as I also said previously, I’m quite sure there are issues in the production of food animals.  If you want to try to initiate change to make that stuff better, fine.  Just don’t try to make me feel guilty about supporting it.  I don’t participate.  I look at the other side as well.  We have an agricultural industry that feeds the world at such an efficient rate, that even the poor in this country eat like kings.  We are so affluent, so bountiful, that we have time to worry about all kinds of threats, both real and phantom, from Alar to ethical zookeeping.  To only focus on the problems and not the overall good, is to skew the reality, most of the time to promote an agenda through guilt.

I have thought of trying to make a living somehow through my love of food and cooking.  I have dreamed of opening a restaurant that would be completely gluten-free, but would appeal to “regular” people too.  But I wonder how my interpretations would be received by the g-free community.  So co-opted are many of them by the “modern” sensibilities that I wonder if they could sit down and enjoy a good g-free chicken fried steak with cream gravy.  Or meatloaf.  Or barbecued brisket.  Are there throwbacks out there like me who are forced to eat gluten-free, but still want to eat classic foods?  Who have not so given in to the correctness of the day that they can’t enjoy a classic Eggs Benedict?

And don’t misunderstand.  I know that eating that stuff all the time is not good for you.  I realize that there have been real gains in our collective understanding of nutrition and healthy cooking and eating.  I don’t reject those things at all.  I just believe that so much of it goes overboard to the point of taking all the joy out of food.  And I don’t want to lose that.  I want to have some balance and be able to eat and cook sensibly without completely giving up everything I love so much.  And I’m afraid the do-gooders and the fear mongers are doing just that to a lot of people.

I worry that my take on eating and cooking gluten-free, were I to actually try to bring it to the masses, would be savaged by the food nannys to the point of being vilified and costing my success.  I worry about this especially within the gluten-free community as it seems to be more sensitive to these issues than the population at large (as ubiquitous as it is).  Then again, maybe there are more out there like me.  Keeping our head down, not attracting attention by saying the wrong things at parties.  Sneaking a Philly Cheese Steak without the bun for lunch when no one else is around.  I hope so.  It’s lonely out here.  In this cave.  With my burgers on the grill.  The smell of caramelizing ground beef kissed by the flames of a charcoal fire.  The Wife cutting up the veggies and toasting my g-free bread.

Never mind.  It’s good to be a Neanderthal.  And if you want to join me, keep your head up, and just maybe you’ll be able to follow your nose one day to the smoke of a distant fire that is The Metal Spoon.


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  1. linda k. stevens permalink

    someday it is….tick, tock….tick,tock…..

  2. jim_i_am permalink

    Don’t worry so much about what others say or think, in business you serve your clients, but not everyone will be your client. If you have a marketable product (or service), you’ll sell it just fine as long as you focus on service, not what others may be thinking. You’ll never please everyone so why try.

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