Food is something the human race all has in common. In order to survive we have the need to eat. Where food is located, culture is cultivated. While the need to eat is universal the types of food and the way it is prepared vary greatly. Before my wife I NEVER would have tried Fiskepudding (fish pudding). While I am sure I will never eat it again, It was an adventure to explore a new food and culture in one small bite. Well I kind of spit out the bite but maybe a bite of the goat cheese ... mmm goat cheese.
So, I am a Mormon. Many of you may know that already but why do I mention it now? No we do not have horns, no I am not a polygamist, yes we ARE Christians in every sense of the word. Now that we have that out of the way ... Mormons are notorious social eaters. "When we meet, we eat" ... as the saying goes in the culture. When someone gets married, we eat. When someone gets baptized, we eat. When a baby is blessed, we eat. When little Suzie goes from Primary into the Young Women's program, we give her a bunch of candy to show our approval. When someone dies we eat. And we don't just eat anything. When someone dies, we make the most fattening concoction of potatoes that I believe have ever been invented. We call 'em "Funeral Potatoes". Lisa at Feminist Mormon Housewives describes the dish perfect. It's like the goal is to dull all the emotion surrounding the loss of a loved one by eating this and water logged, canned ham in order to enter a food educed lethargic state void of all emotion. While Mormons believe in a law of health called the Word of Wisdom, in practice, I think our culture and our faith often collide. Social eating can be both good, and bad. In general I think rewarding with food is a bad idea and teaches kids incorrect principals about food. A good aspect of social eating would be cooking a healthy meal with your kids like my bud Ryan at No More Bacon recently talked about. I can't help but get people excited about food. When I ate like a 500 pounder, I would get people excited about foods that were delicious but ... well ... would quickly get you to 500 pounds. Now, I love to get people excited about sashimi, low calorie soups, Oroweat sandwich thins and eating delicious but healthy foods. Do you influence people food? I bet you do. Are you a positive influence or a negative influence in your local circles?
The Badger family my Dad grew up in was one full of love. My Grandma passed before I was born but between her and my Grandpa, the Badger household was a pretty tight ship as I can tell. I have heard my Grandpa, when feeling melancholy, mentioned that he should have voiced his love more. Grandpa may not have always voiced his love, but he never failed to show it. Spending hours in the kitchen, constantly tasting to get it just right. Through food, Grandpa said many times what his mouth failed to speak. In contrast, I put 1/2 a shaker worth of salt in my friend's chocolate milk at school to communicate that I didn't like him emptying his trumpet spit valve on my foot earlier that morning :) Communicating through food is not necessarily a bad thing. What is important is what message are you communicating? Are you saying "I love you only enough to make you feel a short bit of happiness while slowly killing you." while handing over a giant piece of chocolate cake? Or "I want to make you happy and live longer." With a bowl of fresh fruit? It sounds a bit harsher than I mean it too but hopefully you got the idea. Food is something that should be used for our benefit and our health not to our demise.