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Old 24-04-2015, 10:37 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Default Eat up. You'll be happier.

Eat Up. You'll Be Happier.
By Pamela Druckerman
International New York Times

PARIS -- MY father-in-law, an anthropologist, likes to talk about the
time he ate dog penis. He was visiting a remote town in South Korea, and
the mayor invited him to lunch. Once they'd finished the dog soup (not a
big deal), a waitress carried out the boiled penis on a silver plate.
The mayor cut it lengthwise with scissors, then served half to each of
them.

"It tasted exactly like tripe -- intestine," my father-in-law recalls.
"You're always supposed to say, 'like chicken,' but it didn't taste at
all like chicken."

Anthropologists are at the extreme end of what used to be a universal
rule of hospitality: When a host offers you food, you eat it. It's a
show of trust, and a sign of belonging. Refuse his meal and you're
effectively rejecting him.

But as anyone who has recently tried to host a birthday party or a
dinner in the English-speaking world knows, this rule no longer matters.
Forget about dog penis; try offering visitors lasagna (it's not vegan,
not gluten-free, and it couldn't have been cooked by a caveman). Our
increasingly choosy food habits are the subject of a French collection
of academic essays, "Selective Eating: The Rise, Meaning and Sense of
Personal Dietary Requirements," which will be published in English next
week. The editor, Claude Fischler, a social anthropologist, chose the
topic after discovering that even anthropologists aren't exempt: An
Australian colleague said she had asked her Aboriginal subjects to
accommodate her gluten-free diet, followed by choice, not by medical
necessity.

Having lived in America and France, I've been on both sides of the
picky-eating divide. I know it's tiresome to hear about the
paradoxically fabulous French eating habits. But it's no accident that
Unesco made the French gastronomic meal part of the "Intangible Cultural
Heritage of Humanity." It's worth looking at how they cope with picky
eaters.

When I arrived in Paris about a decade ago, I was a vegetarian (out of
squeamishness) and on a low-carbohydrate diet. This had seemed
reasonable in New York, but it baffled Parisians. Restaurants balked at
making substitutions. Hostesses didn't ask for my dietary requirements.

In one study, 68 percent of French adults said they force themselves to
eat some of everything when they're invited to someone's house. A
Parisian academic told me she became incensed when an American dinner
guest requested a vegetarian meal. "Although she was extremely friendly
and pleasant -- never again!"

There are French vegetarians, too, of course. Lots of people here go on
diets, including low-carbohydrate ones. Gluten-free pasta has appeared
in the supermarket. But people are low-key about their by-choice eating
schemes. The overarching conventional wisdom -- what everyone from
government experts to my French girlfriends take as articles of faith --
is that restrictive diets generally don't make you healthier or slimmer.
Instead, it's best to eat a variety of high-quality foods in moderation
and pay attention to whether you're hungry.

In "Selective Eating," Jean-Denis Vigne, of France's National Museum of
Natural History, concludes that the Paleolithic diet is "more inspired
by the myth of the noble savage than by the realities revealed by
science," and that humans are adaptable omnivores.

Choosy eating interferes with another key aspect of French mealtimes:
the shared experience of food. In France, "eating does not have the sole
purpose of nourishing the biological body but also and above all of
nourishing the social bond," writes the social psychologist Estelle
Masson in "Selective Eating."

This can seem excessively formal. When I invited some French families
over to eat pizza and watch a soccer match on TV, they automatically
assembled at my dining-room table for a sit-down meal. (I had foolishly
envisioned eating pizza on the couch.)

We Anglophones have reasons for adopting strange diets. Increasingly, we
live alone. We have an unprecedented choice of foods, and we're not sure
what's in them, or whether they're good for us. And we expect to
customize practically everything: parenting, news, medicines, even our
own faces.

Anyway, we're not trying to have a shared experience of food. Mr.
Fischler says that in his focus groups, Americans often described eating
as part of an individual journey of self-discovery, in which each person
tries to "find out over time and experience what my true nutritional
self is, and satisfy it."

But selective eating may not lead us to our best selves. Since I've
lived in France, there's been a march of studies pointing to the wisdom
of what the French have been doing all along. Apparently it's fine to
eat some cheese, butter, chocolate and red meat; diets rarely work; and
to lose weight, you should exercise more and eat less. Mr. Fischler is
currently studying the health impact of eating together by looking at
buffet tables at Club Med and the American "freshman 15."

Eating among the French certainly affected me. After a few years here, I
gave up most of my selective food habits. I still wouldn't eat a dog's
penis, but I have tried oysters. It turns out that the best part of
going with the food flow isn't the health benefits or the cuisine, it's
the conversation. You can finally talk about something else.

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Old 24-04-2015, 10:42 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Default Eat up. You'll be happier.

On 2015-04-24 5:37 PM, Victor Sack wrote:
Eat Up. You'll Be Happier.
By Pamela Druckerman
International New York Times

PARIS -- MY father-in-law, an anthropologist, likes to talk about the
time he ate dog penis.




Okay... You lost me right there.
I don't need to read any more.

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Old 24-04-2015, 10:57 PM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Default Eat up. You'll be happier.

On Friday, April 24, 2015 at 2:42:37 PM UTC-7, Dave Smith wrote:
On 2015-04-24 5:37 PM, Victor Sack wrote:
Eat Up. You'll Be Happier.
By Pamela Druckerman
International New York Times

PARIS -- MY father-in-law, an anthropologist, likes to talk about the
time he ate dog penis.




Okay... You lost me right there.
I don't need to read any more.


Pa mela has made a cottage industry out of explaining Frenchmen to Americans
for the NYT. Her best known book is Bringing Up Bebe.
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Old 25-04-2015, 02:14 AM posted to rec.food.cooking
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Default Eat up. You'll be happier.

Dave Smith wrote in rec.food.cooking:

On 2015-04-24 5:37 PM, Victor Sack wrote:
Eat Up. You'll Be Happier.
By Pamela Druckerman
International New York Times

PARIS -- MY father-in-law, an anthropologist, likes to talk about
the time he ate dog penis.




Okay... You lost me right there.
I don't need to read any more.


Then you missed the point.

Victor, some of the best meals in my life were with things I didnt know
what I was eating but the camoraderie (sp?) made it memorable.

Dave, I sat at a table, the sort where it is low and on the floor that
you sit. There were no pictures, just 4 painted menus om a wall. My
friend and i order one each and found it was a HUGE amount of food. We
managed with pantomime to invite the table next to us to to come share
our accidental largess. Ensued was a very fun meal with lots of
pantomime and even one dish they went 'arf arf' at me (in case I was
not sure) so I shared a bit to the barker who ate it and closed his
eyes in heavenly joy so I tried some and it was very well prepared.

I was in another country, sharing a meal and a few beers and if i had a
wish that was possible to meet, it would be to have them have a meal at
my house of southern pulled pork, mashed potatoes and gravy, garden
salad, Ambrosia, Pecan pie, Baked macaroni and cheese, Slivers of
American cure type bacone both cooked crisp and served frozen on ice
with endive leaf and horseradish, Collard greens made southern style,
and salt boiled peanuts. Lots of gravy and watch them just taste it
all! Like me, they wouldnt like all of it but they would find it
interesting I bet and some they would love.

When you experience another culture, accept that it is theirs and that
you are a guest. If you do that, you will have fun.



--



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