Thursday, January 21, 2010


There is a famous quote about how humans are mainly a vessel to stuff food into. I’d like to think that there are more important reasons, like possibly art or something like that, but I can see what they are getting at when they talk like that. It is a short list for the things that the entirety of the human race needs to do and eating is really up there on it. You don’t tend to stay alive for very long when you don’t eat.

Couple the amazing variety and styles of food stuff with the need and you have a pretty good combination ready and willing to help the world. And that isn’t even taking into account the whole psychological need that some of us have for food. It is well documented that many people use food and eating as a way to help for all manner of psychological upsets. There is overeating or starving or eating only certain foods or in a specific order and there are still so many more.

It might be some version of this or just a way to relive boredom but I will always find myself switching over to the Food Network or the Travel Channel’s food programs when there is nothing else on the tube. You get some serious amount of entertainment and tasty looking food to go along with it. It would be even better if it was possible to just stick your hand into the television and pull out the food for personal consumption but I’ll just have to wait for the next round of mechanical upgrades for that. First high definition and then food delivery.

The Travel Channel has a special series on right now called The Chowdown Countdown where they travel the country picking out what they believe are the 101 top places to eat in the country. These are all local establishments with no chain restaurants of any kind on the list. All of the places that they have shown so far have looked amazing and the food can’t look any more delectable as they do on the screen. It’s like a food fetishists dream come true.

While I’ve been enjoying watching the show and would love to visit a lot of the places on it, there is something that I’ve actually found a little troubling in the watching. The restaurants have a wide variety of different kinds of things to eat but there is a part of their menus that I feel the need to call into question. That part of it is the use of the enormous meal that looks like it would be too much for even all 19 of the Duggars could finish. Some places have mega sandwiches that have everything on the normal menu placed between two slices or bread. Still others go with the huge ice cream sundays and there was even a place with a mammoth vanilla milkshake that is served in a glass that looks like it was originally built for a piston engine casing. It’s all about the big amounts of food and every one of these places have a kind of promotion about rewarding people that can eat or drink the whole thing.

My mind started to wander while watching to what the thought of people from other countries must be to the apparent gluttony that these shows give the rest of the world. At first you’d like to hope that there are other countries that have the same kinds of things at their places of nourishment but I really can’t see the people in the Netherlands or Japan or Estonia having quite the need or desire to have something like these dishes on their menus. It all looks like something inherent to the people of the United States of America. We’ve gotten so used to having an overabundance of food in this country that we don’t have a problem with eating a cheeseburger that weighs as much as the cow that they got the meat originally from.

These single place establishments are part of their local environments and each of them fits into their region of the country but you kind of have to wonder when you factor these places into the same world as the one with all of the chain restaurants. They might not have the kind of huge meals that the smaller places do but that doesn’t help when you have the need to fulfill the menus of places across an area or the country. The amount of food that flows out of places like McDonalds, Taco Bell, or even like Subway can total up to a huge amount of stuff. It can blow a person’s mind to think about how much hamburger meat needs to be raised and processed for these places.

I am not someone who is innocent in cases like this because I still eat at all manner of places like these. I might have tried to curtail the amounts of time I spend at fast food places but I still love going to the local In & Out Burgers when I’m jonesing for a “Double Double”. There haven’t been my past trips to eating a couple double quarter pounders a week but I do still eat my fair share of it. It all just kind of leaves me worried about how much food we’re all eating.

There is another famous quote about how the fastest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach but it’s starting to seem like we have way too much food available for us to choose from. It just leaves me worried about all of the meat in the diet and how it’s possible to raise all of the meat that you need to make the food. You don’t want to worry about the need to feed all of the people of the world and the space needed for farms to raise all of it for our needs. It could make you go insane just worrying about it.

It all leaves my mind feeling a bit mixed up when I think about all of the possibilities about the food that we eat. With the country’s population growing exponentially, you have to fulfill the need to eat that all of those people might have. It’s not like I’m looking for the appearance of soylent green in the next month but we do need to figure out what we’re going to do before it gets to the point that all of those huge sanwhiches are taken apart just to feed all of the people that will need the food.


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