Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Eat, drink, and be merry?

Quite a few years ago, I visited with my brother and his family when my parents were also there with him.  One evening, he said that there would be no cooking at home and that we would all go to a restaurant, which is what we did.  I was my usual dull and boring type, not stuffing myself with food.  And when it came to dessert time, I passed on the offer.  "You are no fun" my brother said.  I tell ya, Major Buzzkill has a long and rich experience in dampening the festive air ;)

I suppose I am a disgrace to my fellow countrymen.  Recently, Americans set a record:
For the last year, retail sales at US eating and drinking establishments have outrun those of grocery stores, upending a longstanding pattern in which the bulk of American spending on food occurred at the supermarket.
Get it?  We Americans spent less money buying groceries compared to the amount we spent eating and drinking at restaurants and bars.  And at food trucks. At the fairs. At any establishment selling food and drinks.

We are the modern day Tom Joad;  I'll be ever'where - wherever you look. Wherever they's food, I'll be there. Wherever they's a fella selling drinks, I'll be there. ;)

I am always amazed at how much people eat and drink away from home.  Even coffee.  People drive out in the morning and head straight to the drive-thru coffee kiosks, wait in line with the engines running, and get their coffee that they consume as they drive.  Let us say that the whole thing takes up ten minutes (or more.)  It means that they could have easily brewed that coffee at home--even if they wanted to drink it while driving, right?  Nothing makes sense anymore.

It is not only the shelling out of precious dollars:
As the amount of calories Americans consume away from home has increased—from 18% in 1978 to 32% in 2008—it should be noted that food consumed away from home is markedly higher in salt, saturated fat and sodium while lower in dietary fiber. Other studies cite the rising American propensity for dining out as a potential contributor to the rise in US obesity.
How terrible!

When I was a kid, eating out was a rare, rare event.  In the town where we lived, going to Swarna Bhavan (I think that was the name of the restaurant) was an ultra-special treat.  We did not go there wearing any slacker clothes either.  Now, kids get to eat out in this country practically every other day.  This being America, patrons walk in wearing everything from tankinis to sweatshirts to those godawful cargo shorts! ;)

Last weekend, a neighbor couple invited us over for dinner.  Yes, at home.  Cooked at home.  Awesome appetizers: sliced and roasted bell peppers marinating in a wonderful concoction, served over small pieces of bread.  And then in the main dinner, beans; a "Mexican" lasagna, which is apparently one of their family specialties; and a tasty green salad with sliced avocado.  And she gave us a take-home container of food as well.

We talked about food.  All of us were in agreement that eating like this develops a healthy relationship with food.  We put our effort into it, and we know what went into making it.  We know that the food that we eat is awesomely tasty while healthy as well.  We had a great time sitting around the table for two hours.  It is more than mere food.  It is about making connections with fellow humans.  The breaking bread.

This world is more and more alien to Major Buzzkill General Malaise.  Too bad I can't even drown my sorry in the nearby bar! ;)


4 comments:

Ramesh said...

Too much noise about what should be an irrelevant topic. I will leave it to you and chefmusicmama to argue about this one. I wouldn't care less - I would have responded in the same vein as your comments on Her Majesty in the previous post, but since I am a dignified gentleman, rather of the Victorian era, I shall confine myself to saying Pip Pip. :)

As far as I am concerned soylent is fine !

Sriram Khé said...

Do Elizabeth, Charles, Kate, and Charlotte drink Soylent, with their pinkies sticking out? muahahahaha ;)

Yes, you are being consistent--you don't care about food-related posts.

Anne in Salem said...

Ramesh, you are missing out. You will have to adjust to a lot of food love when I am there.

Sriram, no dessert? How is that possible? (Though the last one I ate in a restaurant was sent back as unacceptable.)

Eating in restaurants (generic term for establishments that sell food, no matter the format) = broke and unhealthy. Do we really need a study to learn that?

I like restaurants for food I don't generally cook at home, and as that is a rather limited scope, I eat out maybe three times a year. I prefer to spend my money and my calories otherwise. A few years ago, Red Lobster ran an add for shrimp fest, and the kids got all excited. I told them to calculate the cost of the meal - drinks, tip, no dessert - if the whole family went. We then shopped for our own shrimp fest, and they learned several important lessons: food at home is way cheaper - three shrimp fests for the cost of one in the restaurant; food at home is healthier; meals at home are more relaxed and don't require a change of clothes; etc.

A bit of etymology for you: the root words of "companion" are Latin for "with bread." Clearly there is a connection between eating and human interaction. Each makes the other better.

Sriram Khé said...

OMG, the Latin origin for companion is awesome. I suppose this is what a Cornell education does.

As for shrimps and lobsters, here is more funny stuff for you:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aL9qqWRm7E

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