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Essay: "Food"

by Berkeley II Harbin
You Are What You Eat

The old adage holds true, and you can see it every day. America today is a sea of obesity. This plague of the pounds is largely a result of the junk that most Americans eat daily in the form of soulless meals filled with high-fructose corn syrup and preservatives, but devoid of love. What more Americans need today is love in their diets.

Yes, that's right, I said love. I remember hearing a long time ago, most likely from my mother, that all good cooks put a little but of themselves, a little bit of love, into their work. I didn't think much about it at the time, but I have come to see the truth of it now.

The modern diet of most Americans is totally devoid of love. Just look how much love is in a bag of potato chips or a Taco Bell Grande. Not a lot of care goes into the preparation of these two food choices, and the results are hanging over the belts of millions of Americans.

Now, before you go and condemn the mainstream mono-diet, keep in mind that food can be not just devoid of love but full of hate. Witness the prison diet, just full of animosity and starch. Real food, though, food made with love, is what we need. With almost every dish that you might want to eat, making it from scratch will not only result in better nutrition, it will save you money, too. Eating home-cooked meals will lower your glycemic index, increase the amount of vitamins absorbed, raise your dietary fiber levels, and in most cases seriously reduce your overall calorie intake.

Most nutritionists would correctly point out that good cooking techniques and the lack of preservatives easily accounts for these benefits. Their research readily supports this, but there is something that they are missing in their laboratories. They are missing the love.

You cannot account for the love that someone puts into their cooking when they are doing something that they enjoy. I was privileged enough to discover this firsthand while working at a culinary arts program here at my unit. I noticed the pride that people displayed as a result of being complimented on their dishes, and I saw the care that was demonstrated in preparing those dishes. I saw the love, and that's when it came back to me from so long ago, that you put some of your love into everything you cook. This is why someone who cares enough can take the same ingredients and make a masterpiece, as opposed to someone who is just mixing things together because Betty Crocker said so. You can tell the difference.

So, as obesity continues on into epidemic proportions here in the United States, and juvenile diabetes cases skyrocket, it's time we start to take the time to cook again. We don't need any magic cholesterol pills or fat-burners. What we need is a little more love in our diets.