Diaries Magazine

Defined by Food

By Danielleabroad @danielleabroad
A master's thesis is a fascinating beast. It demands commitment, passion, and tireless effort; three characteristics I'm becoming very familiar with. As such, my preferred mental break--besides writing an email to a friend in Paris or crossing paths with another in New York--is magazines, those same ones I thought I'd wanted to work for just a few years ago. They're often light, inspiring reads. One common thread in particular has been bothering me though: weight loss stories that begin with a women raised on food as love.
defined by food Food as love is not "the problem." Food is how we nourish ourselves and each other, share traditional memories and celebratory moments together. Nothing about the affectionate nature of a meal prepared and enjoyed among others is problematic. Then again, I'm referring to a level of appreciation for the experience that is usually associate with the French; a secret cultural formula to being thin on wine, bread, cheese, and cream. What we may not realize is that the "secret" is literally taught, in the home and classroom.
defined by food Because at the molecular level, food is fuel. It's the human touch that added love, and cultivated it into various cuisines around the world. While in the Jura, I recall Claire telling us about French researchers that led a group of overweight men and women through a weight loss program centered not on extreme exercise nor culinary deprivation but a conscious respect for food itself and how we consume it. They learned how to taste. And in doing so, they also lost a healthy amount of weight and were able to keep it off.
defined by food There's a privilege in being able to choose what we eat, where, and how. From most disciplines, academics have proven that “what kind of food one eats and how – organic, healthy, local, processed, vegan, or ethnic – is a serious cultural and political issue with vital consequences for one’s cultural lifestyle and identity,” (Hirose and Pih 1483). That's why I'm so curious to look at how 'global cities' define local cuisine and who participates in the process. It's why I loved Saturday night's dinner with my brother, too. Before he went back to Arizona, we dined on delectable French dishes (a shared petit plateau from the oyster bar, bowl of chestnut soup, and lamb shank with carrots and potatoes), wine, and espresso at a restaurant with his namesake. We had such a good time. I told him all about my thesis research; he told me about his spring semester schedule and hopes for the future. He shared his thoughts on the meal and restaurant as well; he's extra opinionated since working at Fortina's (location of the photo above). Food is love.

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