Friday, March 5, 2010

"Babette's Feast"

"Babette's Feast" is one of my very favorite movies, and watching it is on the "to do" list for my boyfriend and me because Tom hasn't seen it yet (which surprised me greatly when I learned that).  Yeah, I took it out of the library, oh, maybe 2 weeks ago; and we keep saying "We need to watch this" ... but it doesn't seem to happen. 

But it needs to, because this movie addresses issues of great interest to me -- belief in God, how best to worship (austerity and asceticism vs. gratitude for bounty), sacrifice and obligation ....  And, obviously, there is the sumptuous porn of the food in the feast of the title!  Needless to say, I vote for relishing abundance (while also seeking better distribution of resources such that the "no need for ... hunger" that John Lennon sang about might one day come true).

We've just celebrated Purim, and been immersed in the requisite hamantaschen.    Every year, there are debates about the merits of sugar cookie dough vs. yeast dough, of poppy seed filling vs. prune ... and why???  They're cookies -- enjoy!  Don't make some of them feel rejected because they might not be your very favorites.  I can't imagine turning any of them down, unless I've simply eaten too many and am on the verge of a diabetic coma.

I've known people who don't like chocolate (gasp!!!), who won't eat orange food, who haven't liked cheese on pizza, who would only eat tuna salad with oily tuna that hadn't been drained, who won't eat chicken unless it's boneless, and who've told me they don't like foods that they haven't even bothered to try -- people with food issues are very, very high on my "naughty" list, unless they've got health or religious reasons to justify their refusals.  It's one thing if you CAN'T eat a particular food, but quite another if you CHOOSE not to ... especially if your whims are going to inconvenience others, and you seek to impose your will upon them.  Eat what's put in front of you, or hit the McDonald's drive-thru for a Big Mac if you're still hungry after playing with the food on your plate rather than eating it.

So, clearly -- after my disbelief at the prospect of rejecting any cookie, and after my rant about picky and particular people -- it should be clear that I am truly a Food Floozie to the depths of my Pooh Bear-like rumbly little tumbly.    (Watch my favorite Pooh scene, in which he tries to do some exercises: "Up, down, touch the ground, puts me in the mood/Up, down, touch the ground, in the mood ... for food!"

Any food -- from soup to nuts to chips to chocolate to cake to cookies to chicken to roast beast to salad to cheese -- has the potential to lure me in, singing a Siren song until I can no longer resist temptation.  I go on curry kicks, will eat Sander's milk chocolate fudge sauce (that my maternal grandmother used to bring as a gift when she'd visit us in NYC) straight out of the jar, obsess about Montmorency and Balaton cherries at the Farmers Market each summer, and generally spend far too many of my waking hours contemplating what I'm going to eat, how I'm going to prepare it, what newfangled treatment I can give it, and how much I enjoyed it.

I do consider fat or sodium or sugar contents, but then do my best to simply enjoy myself despite any warning signs; if I exercise moderation as a rule and am in good health, then I can certainly indulge my whims and cravings without regret.  Really, there are just too many wonderful, delicious things to eat in this world -- from fruits and vegetables to pasta and fish, and from Indian and Ethiopian to Turkish and Irish ... I wax rhapsodic, I effuse, I enthuse, and I relish the complete sensual experience that food provides.  It is not just about nutrients; food can truly be good for the soul.

And Girl Scout cookies only come around once each year, after all, so who am I to refuse ... or to only eat just one???

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