Category Archives: food

The new food paganism

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 14.41.45When people speak of the glories of multiculturalism, writes Dalrymple,

they are mostly thinking of a lot of different restaurants, rather than Pali epigraphy or Somali tribal structure.

In big cities nowadays, waiters

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 14.38.05prance around telling the diners that the kale or quinoa was picked by vestal virgins on the first full moon after the equinox.

Dalrymple says that

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 14.45.56this new food paganism, the reverence for ingredients and the way in which they are produced (or ‘sourced’, always responsibly of course), irritates me. It seems to imply that one is supposed to do more with the food on one’s plate than merely to eat it. When the explanations are too elaborate, one begins to feel unworthy of what one is about to eat.

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Food sensitivity as a mark of sensitivity in general

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 12.34.44Dalrymple comes across a couple of papers in the New England Journal of Medicine suggesting that food avoidance very early in life promotes food sensitivity rather than prevents it.

He comments:

You are right to be worried if you are worried. On the other hand, you are right not to be worried if you are not worried.

The elusive nutritional ideal

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 08.36.41Mankind, writes Dalrymple,

has long been in search of the perfect diet, believing it to be the key to immortality. Food is health-giving but also dangerous, and for those inclined to worry about their health, what to eat is a constant source of anxiety. Should I eat this, should I avoid that? Is this food the elixir of life or a deadly poison? (It is usually something in between the two.)

The vast continent of the present moment

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 21.53.57Although, writes Dalrymple, we

allegedly live in a multicultural age, which in practice means that we like lots of different kinds of food, I am not sure that an age of Facebook and Twitter is one that is propitious to the grasping of outlooks other than one’s own. So absorbed are we in the vast continent of the present moment that we are increasingly unable to travel imaginatively to the foreign land of the past.

Dead meat

Dalrymple on Meals to Die For by the Texas death-row cook Brian D. Price: 'A few years ago...in the bookshop in the airport nearest my English home, I found a volume devoted to the last meals requested by men about to be executed in Texas....To my lasting regret I did not buy the book and have not found it since. It was both horrifying and fascinating....what really horrified me were not the crimes of the condemned men but their choices of a last meal...they all wanted to go out on a full stomach of junk food and industrially produced sweet drinks. Whether the Texas Department of Corrections would have stood for more sophisticated tastes I don’t know: Bélon oysters, for example, and a glass of fine Chablis....My horror at their choices was not quite as frivolous as might at first appear, for junk food is criminogenic.'

Dalrymple on death-row cook Brian D. Price’s Meals to Die For: ‘A few years ago…in the bookshop in the airport nearest my English home [Birmingham Airport], I found a volume devoted to the last meals requested by men about to be executed in Texas….To my lasting regret I did not buy the book and have not found it since. It was both horrifying and fascinating….what really horrified me were not the crimes of the condemned men but their choices of a last meal…they all wanted to go out on a full stomach of junk food and industrially produced sweet drinks. Whether the Texas Department of Corrections would have stood for more sophisticated tastes I don’t know: Bélon oysters, for example, and a glass of fine Chablis.’

British culinary barbarism

Food desertification and the supposed cheapness of industrially prepared foods is a consequence, not a cause, of [poor] food habits.

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