Sunday, May 31, 2015

Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan [book review]

Our May book for the Kitchen Reader was Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan. It's hilarious. Here's a sampling of the delights.

Cheese and Gratitude

"There's an old Weight Watchers saying, 'Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.' I for one can think of a thousand things that taste better than thin feels. Many of them are two-word phrases that end with cheese (Cheddar cheese, blue cheese, grilled cheese)."

"In America we have gone way beyond sustenance. Eating is an activity. 'Why don't we get lunch, and then we'll grab some pizza.' Most Americans eat constantly. And when we're not eating, we're chewing gum. We are literally practicing eating. We chew gum with a swagger and purpose that says, 'Yeah, I got a big meal coming up. I'm training for Thanksgiving.'"

"My wife likes to pause before the meals with our [five] kids and say grace. While I think this is a great opportunity for our children to learn to appreciate the gifts God has given them, I view grace as kind of 'On your mark, get set...' and the 'Amen' and the 'Go!'. I am pretty sure that's the way God intended it."

"We are totally out of control. We're a country that loves to eat so much that instead of learning how to eat less, or honestly exercising, we find ways around it, like wiring our mouths shut and undergoing surgeries in which our stomachs are stapled smaller. 'I don't want to do something barbaric like exercising, so I'm just going to have someone vacuum the fat out of my body.'"

Lobster, Guacamole, and Cheese

"Lobster... is a unique food that requires its own wardrobe, the lobster bib, which indicates not only that consuming lobster is messy, but also that people don't mind looking like a toddler while they do it."

"I eat a lot of guacamole. If I died right now, I'm sure some of my children would just remember me as the balding guy who brought home the overpriced, delicious green dip. I hope at one point some really important person sat the inventor of guacamole down and told him or her, 'You are a great human. We thank you for your contribution to our planet.' Guacamole is made with the avocado, which is so delicious I think it should be reclassified as a cheese."

Fruit and Vegetables

"Nobody really wants fruit. We only act like we do. A false desire for fruit is woven into the fabric of our culture. We are told that Adam and Eve were kicked out of paradise for eating an appple. An apple? Would an apple ever really tempt you? I wouldn't look at the serpent, 'An apple? Uh, cover it in caramel and come back to me. You got any cake back there?'"

"If nobody wants fruit, even fewer people want vegetables. This is because, overall, vegetables taste horrible.... I mean, I don't want to be fat, but I want vegetables less. Of course, I'm forced to eat vegetables when there are children present."

"Let's say I'm wrong. Maybe you do want to eat a vegetable. Let's now subtract deep frying, vinegar, dairy [cheese], oil, or an unhealthy amount of salt from the vegetable. Do you still WANT the vegetable? If you say no, you are like me. If you said, 'Yes, Jim, I love eating raw radishes by the handful,' you are a weirdo and probably need therapy. Okay, I'm jealous."

As I was laughing I was also identifying with some of the tongue in cheek jibes at the Western diet. If anything, this book made me want to eat vegetables more. And find tasty ways of doing it! Clearly Mr Gaffigan has never tasted a freshly scrubbed radish.

I'm really glad that Pech, Vicki, and Stephanie all suggested Food: A Love Story for the Kitchen Reader. I still have some reading left to do and it's so funny that I have been laughing out loud on the train to work.

In June we are reading The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food by Dan Barber, chosen by Melissa of Melos bookshelf and Emily of Highly Social Media. Please join in if you like reading about food as much as we do.

Are you going to be remembered as the person who brought home the guacamole? Or some other food?

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