It has been my experience that there exists nothing on Earth more irritating than the zealot, the passionate fanatic, the newly converted to some perceived kernel of truth. The one person every smoker tries to avoid at a party is the guy who has just quit. Nothing can rip the joy out of a Holiday spread faster than the arrival of the guy who has just lost twenty pounds at Weight Watchers. Not that there’s anything wrong with losing weight or stopping smoking of course. It’s just that there is something so off putting about people who think they have figured everything out, especially when they suddenly believe it their duty to enlighten the rest of us.
I make this observation in light of the torrent of newsfeed-killing stories warning me about the mortal dangers lurking in practically everything I eat. From the evils of genetic modification, to the diabolical designs of high fructose corn syrup, all the way to the sinister intentions of “Big Food”, I am constantly being scolded for not educating myself, of being a victim of glutens, or worse, a hater of animals for my disgusting consumption of meat.
I am tempted here to tell the joke about the guy who gets run over by a truck while riding his bike ten miles out of his way so he can buy organic tomatoes. Actually, I just did…sorry. Here’s my opinion for what it’s worth. I am 55 years old and in pretty decent shape. I work out 4 times a week in a manic attempt to keep my weight down and to relieve stress. Having said this, I must admit that I love food and eat prodigious quantities of my favorites. Most of my favorite foods fall into the category of “dangerous to human beings." However, if someone told me that I could no longer have them, I might conclude that life wasn’t worth the living. The following is a list of the staples of my diet, the consumption of which provides me with great joy and about which I will never apologize.
- BREAD. Not stuff that comes from a bag, but the homemade kind, made from scratch, biscuits and rolls hot out of the oven slathered in…
- BUTTER, not margarine.
- CHEESE, not the stuff that gets squirted from a tube or covered in cellophane, but hard, block cheese from places like Wisconsin, Vermont and France
- SAUSAGE. Pretty much any type, from Andouille to Jimmy Dean. Links or patties, it matters not and the spicier the better.
- MEAT which includes but by no means is limited to…chicken, beef, pork.
- MASHED POTATOES loaded with salt and pepper
- VEGETABLES, drizzled with olive oil and caramelized in the oven on a flat cookie sheet
- COFFEE. Two cups a day with cream and a half teaspoon of SUGAR, not sweetener
- SWEET TEA with lemon.
- BEER, the darker the better and please, nothing “Lite”
There are many other foods which I love, these are just the basics. Now, I’m sure that many who are reading this are aghast at the fat content, the artery-hardening, politically incorrectness, the sheer audacity of what, to you, seems like an assault on healthy living. To each of you I say, the one thing I know for sure is that I am going to die from something. If the diet listed above is the thing that kills me, then I will die with a satisfied smile on my face. Incidentally, with the exception of the beer, this is virtually identical to my 89 year old Dad’s diet. So, there’s that.
Don’t get me wrong. If you’re a devoted, gluten-avoiding, Monsanto-hating organic-loving vegan, I take my hat off to you and wish you well. But don’t ask me to buy into the guilt thing, because I’m not interested.