Guest Post: Politically Correct Eating

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I’m welcoming back my friend, the anonymous blogger, for this great tongue-in-cheek piece.

As a Baby Boomer, I have been eating for a long time. While I understand the “to each their own” philosophy, I have my own idea when it comes to food. And that is to enjoy it. Expensive or cheap; fancy or plain; common or hard-to find; I just want it to taste good and to be enjoyable. But over the years, society seems to have embraced certain food “themes” that have become more acceptable, while others have become less so.

I am referring to the trend toward foods described as one or more of the following: healthy, vegan, natural, organic, low fat, high fiber, low sodium, no preservatives, low calorie, no calorie, low cholesterol…you get the idea. Now don’t get me wrong—I have a pretty good understanding of why certain foods are considered more or less healthy than others. But the “rules” change as time passes and additional studies are done, so nothing is really set in stone, and there is no such thing as a completely healthy diet.

I have no beef with those that want to eat purely for their health—and many of those folks truly enjoy the taste of their food. But many healthier foods (like tofu or shredded wheat) taste horrible to me. I don’t dislike any given food just because it’s healthy—for example, I like almost all fruits and vegetables. But I eat them because they taste good to me, not because they’re healthy. Most unhealthy food, though, tastes great (thank you, animal fat!) So my diet also includes well-marbled steak, fried chicken, grilled spareribs and numerous other cardiac killers.

But sometimes, there is pressure to eat healthy. Once, I offered to host a cookout for my dozen or so coworkers, which was to feature ribs and chicken. One of them was a vegetarian who expressed disapproval of serving meat. She could have simply declined the invitation, eaten side dishes, or brought her own food. But a movement grew within the ranks to convert the cookout to a meat-free event so that this individual would attend and not be offended. I ended up cooking ribs and chicken, and everyone (including the vegetarian) came, but there was a lot of initial pressure to change my ways, be they good or bad, and to impose those changes on all of my guests simply to avoid offending a single individual. Isn’t that what political correctness is really all about?

Being politically correct seems to mean altering one’s actions or thoughts so as to approach a lowest common denominator so that no one is ever upset or offended, and this concept is pervasive in all aspects of life today. It’s a complex concept, and while I think more about it, I’m going to have a bacon cheeseburger and a chocolate malt with a raw egg.

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