In discussion with friends the topic of guilt and food choice has arisen on occasion. Notably, the mutual experience of remorse that transcends us as grocery shopping onlookers, judge, based on the items in your shopping basket.
One friend, after a long run and taxing day at work may have purchased some items that channeled his inner humiliation. Selecting the self-checkout lane to escape judgment on his guilt-worthy purchases, to his dismay, a cute grocery clerk helped bag each one of his cringe-worthy food products.
Another friend and I were speaking over the phone while I was at the store picking up ingredients for “slutty brownies” with a basketful of Oreos, Boxed Brownie Mix and Cookie Dough; I ran into two chef friends and wilted. Explaining the cause for embarrassment to my friend over the mobile, she exclaimed that yes, she also judges shoppers by what is in their grocery carts.
This same notion relates to sharing recipes. You know the ‘ol slip the store-bought pie outta the tin and into your glass serving dish trick? When you are running late to a party and need to bring a dish to pass and don’t want to feel shamed against all the others who slaved over a hot stove to submit a contribution, claim that pie as your grandmother’s specialty, right! Or when someone requests your recipe but you don’t want to sully your reputation by sharing, there is an entire pound of butter in those mushrooms, gasp!
What is it with food, guilt and judgment? What we eat becomes a powerful symbol of who we are. Food equates to our personal identity.
Food portrays cultural, economic, religious and individual identities. Those who eat caviar are dubbed as refined, a few rungs up on the social ladder, to preserve this depiction they must scorn simple and economic eats like a one-pot meal. Noshers of salty chips and Twinkies are thought to be uncaring of physical health, receiving disapproving stares of judgment at the grocery store. A health foodist nourishes on green smoothies and kale but to preserve their identity, must steer clear from processed foods. A Malaysian family who relocates to Mexico City would find, that their food identity might not coincide with the society they now reside in. This example, may explain fusion flavors that are popping up with the flux of globalization.
Reflect on your food identity, find family, ancestors, the society you live in, memories, adventure and dreams.
The food you eat tells a story, share it!