“Do you think, dear reader, you could join my movement? Will you, too, swear off the cruel oppression of eating?” That’s the question George Saunders asked in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine. His tongue-in-cheek article expertly satirizes the culinary killjoys taking aim at everything we eat. Click here to read the entire article.
Here are just a few tidbits from Saunders’ article:
Every time I ate, I was aware that I was exploiting someone. The cow, yes, of course, the pig, the duck, but also the farmer, the trucker, the cook, the dishwasher and the waiter. Frankly, with every bite, I felt more and more the oppressor. With every meal I don’t eat, I am aware that somewhere a cow or pig, asparagus, broccoli, a waiter, etc. remains undisturbed.
Needless to say, the total cessation of eating has not been easy. I think of food constantly. I think of great meals I have had in exotic foreign locations. I think of mediocre meals I have had in boring neutral locations. Lately, depressed by my weight gain, I have even found myself thinking of horrific inedible meals I have had in dangerously hostile places, where people were basically slapping the fork out of my hands while insulting me to my face.
In the end, Saunders offers a kick-starter recipe for his no-food fad. It consists of mixing six cubic feet of air in a bowl while returning recently purchased items like expensive mushrooms and perfect lobsters to the grocery store. Then, the recipe reads, “Come home, pretend to be eating the air in the bowl, look at imaginary person to your right, slowly shaking head as if to say, Wow, was that good. Serves 1 to 20.”
As one last note on his recipe, Saunders cautions those living in a food-cop world:
If you experience actual pleasure during any of the above steps, you are doing it wrong. Smack yourself in the head with tenderizing mallet until headache develops, then repeat Steps 1 through 6, watching carefully for signs of enjoyment. A desirable variation involves skulking around the neighborhood to see if anyone is enjoying a lush, decadent meal. If so, lecture on benefits of self-denial and sinful nature of self-gratification until he or she loses appetite or chases you away. Sneak back later, firebomb his or her grill.