For me, cheese does stand alone, as per the farmer in the dell.
Posted Apr 13, 2015
“Fried eggs?!” Lisa’s otherwise lovely boyfriend was horrified when she prepared him breakfast, “Are you trying to kill me?” “B-b-b-ut,” she stuttered in response. “I thought that as a special treat, even your high cholesterol could stand a couple of eggs. They’re little eggs,” she offered.
Even though I’m a firm believer in being grateful toward anyone who will cook you food in the morning, I was on the boyfriend’s side in this case.
“The guy has fears about his diet, right?” I shrugged “You should respect that he’s trying to stay healthy.” “What about the four sausages he had the night before?” was Lisa’s rejoinder. “Well, he is English,” I reminded her, “and they grow up believing that sausage is good for you. I think it’s translated into Latin and inscribed over buildings dating back as far as 1430.” “Yeah, well, if you’re trying to watch your weight,” she pointed out, “fatty meat is not exactly up there with chai tea as a good choice.”
She had a name for what her lovely young man was engaging in: FOOD HYPOCRISY.
Food hypocrisy is where you tell yourself that you are a moral, virtuous, and pure creature because you don’t eat certain food stuffs.
For example, I’m not a big fan of candy. It is, therefore, remarkably easy for me to feel like I’m the embodiment of healthy living when I eschew Snickers bar. When I buy my husband a Snickers bar, in fact, I feel like I’m supplying him with a dangerous substance.
In contrast, I could live entirely and solely on cheese and cheese-based products. I wouldn’t even need crackers. For me, cheese does indeed stand alone as per the farmer in the dell.
Michael thinks that my obsession with cheese is not only unhealthy, but is indeed a sign of a sort of dairy dependency he finds unnerving.
Food hypocrisy takes a number of forms. Ever go out with somebody who orders a Caesar salad and becomes sanctimonious because something leafy and green is on his or her plate? That person will not believe that the caloric content of a really good Caesar salad is almost exactly the same as a pepperoni pizza because eating romaine lettuce gives them a feeling of virtue. They lose weight with every crunch of crouton—but only in their brains.
And hey, if you’re a Caesar salad fan, that’s terrific. Enjoy. May Caesar himself smile upon you, but if you’re doing it for a sense of smugness that certain salad eaters radiate, then you’re sunk.
How about the canceling-out effect, whereupon a diet soda cancels out the French fries, where stalks of celery cancels out the onion dip, where strawberries cancel out the icecream?
Yet another subset of food hypocrisy is food substitution, where you eat four bowls of bran cereal and, once you recover, then eat two pounds of chocolate to soothe yourself. Food substitution is most often explored in the workplace, where Wheat Thins and V-8 are inhaled in fits of self-discipline, but where frozen cheesecakes are devoured in their entirety once the poor soul actually reaches home. If you eat rice cakes all day—let’s face it—you will not be happy, especially if it’s not rice cakes that you crave. And who craves rice cakes? You will feel a perfectly human need to compensate for the rice cakes by eating S’mores, telling yourself it is merely another rice-product, even if these S’mores have been hidden in the back of the pantry since 2012. (You put them there in order to forget about them so you wouldn’t be tempted to eat them. You may have forgotten your first husband’s name, but you never forgot where the S’mores were.)
Yogurt is never going to make you feel like you actually ate. Not even frozen yogurt. Not even the kind where there’s crunchy stuff on top.
So what’s our lesson for today? I’m not suggesting that we use Homer Simpson as a model for healthy eating habits, but I do think we should be grateful for the privilege of being able to eat when we’re hungry. And we should be amazed at the luck of being able to choose what we eat. Throughout most of history, only royalty had that privilege. We get to do it every time we go to a Dunkin’ Donuts or a smoothie stand. We just shouldn’t kid ourselves about what we want and why we want it. Food hypocrisy is dangerous.
Personally, I would never fall into that trap. Unless of course it was baited with cheese.