Defining Fat and Happy as Family Values

28 09 2006

“The feeding and misfeeding of children has become a tense, awkward point of debate between parents and baby sitters. . .” (see “Memo to Nanny: No Juice Boxes” by Jodi Kantor, September 28.)

Can federal accountability laws for it all be far behind?
Sounds a lot like the growling ascetics who say School must be
about hard work, discipline and denial, breaking one’s will and ability to self-govern.

Fortunately the school-is-to-food analogy works in reverse too – many parents and teachers enjoy both learning and eating with kids absent force-feeding in either classroom or lunchroom:

“The empty plate club,” referring
to kids who successfully clean their plates,
sounds so sad.

“Full plate” sounds much more nurturing.

MLF Kennedy portrait

“Through her artful essays on food and life, which she first began writing in France in the 1930s, Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher transformed the mundane activity of eating into a passion. A unique blend of thoughtful instruction, sense-awakening recipes, and reflections on life’s values, Fisher’s writing is everywhere informed by her conviction that our basic human needs for love, shelter, and food are indivisibly connected.”

For further reading and thinking:
The Anti-Pleasure Principle: The “food police” and the pseudoscience of
self-denial by Jacob Sullum. Reason magazine, July 2003.

Consuming Passions: The Anthropology of Eating
by Peter Farb and George J. Armelagos. HoughtonMifflin, 279 pp., 1980.



4 responses

28 09 2006

Here’s a Food Science teacher’s blogpost about using “food” to teach original thought and disciplined writing (I wanted to start writing myself after reading these ideas!)

Only one or two topics should be addressed from a personal perspective.

* Age – Compare what you eat now with what you ate 1, 5 and 10 years ago.
* Body weight – Are you the same body weight you were two years ago? Are you on a weight-loss diet? Or perhaps you need to eat to increase your muscle mass?
* Celebrations – Is food an important part of your celebrations, holidays, and vacations? What different or unfamiliar foods are eaten at these events?
* Ethnic origin or race – Is food an important part of your cultural or ethnic identity?
* Familiarity – Are you cautious about new unfamiliar foods? Do you want the foods you like and know regardless of where you are?
* Food characteristics – Do you like spicy foods? Perhaps you also like soft or “squishy” foods.
* Gender – Do you eat the same foods as your friends of the opposite gender?
* Health – Do your or members of your family or your friends consume a special diet for health reasons? Changes in diet are recommended for diseases such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, and high blood pressure.
* Nutrition knowledge – How do you rate your nutrition knowledge? Food choices can be made with either good or poor nutritional knowledge.
* Parental attitudes – Were you influenced to eat certain foods in childhood? Foods that are introduced during the first few years of life may influence food choices later in life.
* Peer pressure – Have you felt pressured to eat or not to eat certain foods?
* Self-concept – Do you depend on certain foods to improve your status and image?
* Socioeconomic status – Are your food choices influenced by what you can spend?
* Television viewing – Are some of your food choices influenced by advertising? Certain foods and drinks are advertised during sporting events, for example.
* Values – Are your food choices influenced by social values – respect for the environment, animal rights, or religious beliefs?

But before you start your own essay, go to the link, read the whole thing! 🙂

1 01 2007

Something else to check out–
“Good to Eat: Riddles of Food and Culture” and other general audience books like “Cannibals and Kings” by by UF anthropology professor Marvin Harris.
“Drawing from his research on a wide range of ancient and modern societies, he offers his theories of the effects that religious laws and customs have had on cultural attitudes toward foods. There are chapters on the approved and the forbidden: beef, horsemeat and the flesh of other animals, including humans, fish, insects. Harris documents his provocative views on regulations governing comestibles in various cultures.

For instance, he concludes that swineherding was impractical for nomadic desert dwellers, hence pork became taboo not because pigs were unclean but because they needed too much care.

As for taste preferences, Harris notes that “good to eat” translates as “good to sell” in profit-conscious countries like the U.S.. .”

From Harris’ 2001 NYT obituary:

” “Westerners think that Indians would rather starve than eat their cows,” he told Psychology Today. “What they don’t understand is that they will starve if they do eat their cows.”

In Dr. Harris’ view, then, a manufactured “divine intervention” was needed to encourage people simply to do the practical thing.

The Jewish and Muslim bans on eating pork? Pigs eat the same foods as humans, he reasoned, and are expensive to keep. Sheep, goats and cattle, by contrast, thrive on grass, and provide wool, milk and labor.

Warfare? A way of curbing population when protein gets scarce. Neckties? A badge men wear to indicate they are above physical labor.

Witchcraft? A convenient culprit for the rising protest that church and state faced from the 15th century to the 17th. . .”

1 01 2007
22 09 2009
School Is To Food: Obama-rama Energy for Positive Change « Cocking A Snook!

[…] And btw, while we are connecting ideas you can’t get much more inspiringly healthy and smart and “pro-life” than anything about Michelle Obama. ***************** In the beginning there was “school is to food” Snooking: Defining Fat and Happy as Family Values […]

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