The Why of Chow

Thursday, October 23, 2008 4 comments
Forget about the meaning of life - I'm trying to figure out the meaning of food.

There are so many gourmets out there with more refined palates and superior cooking skills than me. Although I love fine food, I can sometimes be an indiscriminate eater - a Tombstone Supreme frozen pizza takes its place alongside Vera Pizza Napoletana-certified pies as a favorite. I enjoy cooking but have just enough competence to ensure that my husband doesn't suffer from malnutrition.

But what I lack in gastronomic credentials, I more than make up with philosophic curiosity. Basically, I want to know "Why?" Why do we eat what we eat? Why do we eat in certain ways? And what do we feel, think, remember, intend when we eat?

We often think of food only as it pertains to the physical body, like its role in nutrition and its effect on the five senses. Yet food is more than just a basic necessity to keep our bodies functioning and to stimulate our senses. It encompasses economic, political, cultural, social and emotional realms. It can be used as a currency to reward, a tool to indoctrinate, a weapon to control and a measure to show love and affection. It is a memory box and an identity card. In short, food is so much more than just ingredients, techniques and presentation.

With so many questions that are well beyond my own scope of knowledge, I hope you will add your wisdom and experiences so that the sum of our thoughts and opinions might begin to formulate some answers.



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