TV is full of experts who are eager to explain why we eat too much (or too little). What I want to know is why do we eat the specific foods we eat? Especially when that food tastes like slugs dipped in dung, wrapped in sweaty gym socks, then left to marinate in the trunk of a Chevy Lumina in a mall parking lot in Phoenix for the month of August.
I decided to conduct my own scientific experiment on this crucial topic and poll a wide cross section of ethnic groups. The United Nations would be perfect for my purposes, but since that was out of the question for security reasons, I went with the next best thing; the Tower of Babel that is an IKEA store on a Saturday afternoon.
People were asked to describe their favorite foods, which I lumped into Group A and Group B. Classification depended on the response I got from the participants, filtered by the food’s placement on my own, personal Gag-o-Meter.
Here’s a sampling of the foods mentioned.
Birthday cake and ice cream
Reese’s peanut butter cups
Any other kind of “fisk” whose preparation involves turpentine
Any other dish whose main ingredient is “blood”
When asked why they liked a particular food, those who preferred foods in Group A gave variations on the same response:
When asked what possible, earthly reason they could have for eating the stuff in Group B, the answers were more diverse, but all involved the same factors:
As one respondent said, “I’ll never forget how my grandma, Mormor Astrid, used to make lutefisk for me when I was just a small child. Then she would stand over me with a wooden spoon and beat me if I didn’t eat it all.”
The bottom line here seems to be that we eat stuff that no sane person would eat, because of love. Or at least some twisted version of it.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to dash to make supper. Tonight I’m fixing a family favorite that my mother always made for us when I was a kid.
Irish Boiled Dinner
1 head of cabbage
Peel the potatoes and cut in quarters.
Remove the tough, outer leaves from the cabbage and cut into 8 wedges.
Fill a large stockpot ¾ full of water.
Put all ingredients in the pot and boil. 2 hours ought to do it.
Remove from water (I recommend wringing out the cabbage leaves.)
Douse with salt and pepper. Lots of salt and pepper.
Eat it. And thank God that you have food to eat at all, not like those poor, starving children in Biafra.