Food – it’s something we all require, but not all of us approach it the same way. Some people eat to live. Others live to eat. I’m somewhere in the middle - exercise requires fuel in the form of food, but my love of food requires exercise.
As I grew up, school lunches were a standard part of life. There were a LOT of foods I just didn’t eat back in the day and those were the days that I ate or went hungry. Fortunately, there was always at least one thing on the lunch tray that I could tolerate (flavorless as it was) and there was milk, so I ate to live.
On the other hand, my parents loved to experience the food of other cultures which meant we were exposed to so many different flavors of the world. For a family our size, eating out didn’t happen often, but it did happen. It was usually Sunday, which is how I discovered something more than Mom’s Italian-style spaghetti (my favorite), meat and potatoes, and/or chicken and rice. That’s how I learned about living to eat.
For a while, we enjoyed the cafeteria food of Morrison’s – not so much flavors of the world, but not our usual home cooking either – I usually had the fish filet. Sure, it was usually a rectangle, but it was a gateway to catfish, something I still love. We also had other Italian foods periodically, like pizza. All that led the way to venturing into the land of Chinese food. Boy howdy! That really expanded our palates. It wasn’t just the food, meeting the people who ran the restaurant was part of the experience.
Fast forward to adulthood. There are a lot more foods that I eat now than I did when I was in school. I have to credit the experience I had helping to pick and freeze foods fresh from a garden. While I was raised in the south and Mom bought vegetables from a gentleman who drove a truck loaded with garden fresh veggies through the neighborhood, many of the traditional southern foods weren’t eaten in our household. That resulted in a lot of things I didn’t eat and/or had never experienced fresh. Sure, there are still foods I don’t eat, but overall, my palate has grown immensely.
Nowadays, it’s not just about the food itself. Much like our first taste of Chinese food, it’s also about the experience and eating is one of my favorite past-times. The sights, the smells, the companionship and/or the preparation of the meal are just as important. Eating to live can be boring but living to eat is fun! Man, I’m getting hungry – what tasty dish can I have today?
Do you eat to live or live to eat? What’s on your plate? Is it just the food or is it the experience?
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