Did I hear that right? Food = Guilt?

Or is this the fever talking?

When I was in bed waiting to die, you know, semi-comatose– or as one of my nursing supervisors insisted upon saying semi- comatoast– (and she didn’t realize her malapropism but it is sort of apt for this post) I kept the TV on.  I mean, because what else is there to do?

So anyway, I listened with one ear while watching people dressed in shark suits float around my room.  Why my hallucinations were wearing shark suits I’ll never know.  But this is how it is when you have a high fever.  Imaginary people do the strangest things.

Shark People

Shark People

What was I watching?  Episode after episode of Top Chef.  What else?

So as I watched Top Chef, Restaurant Wars, and did my best to ignore the shark people, I planned my own menu for some of the challenges.

The best clam chowder, Splash Cafe, Pismo Beach, CA - toasted bread.

The best clam chowder, Splash Cafe, Pismo Beach, CA – note the toasted bread.

Like the sourdough bread and salmon challenge in Alaska?  Oh, for sure I would have made individual round loaves of sour dough bread, sliced off the tops, hollowed out the insides, and filled the loaves with salmon chowder – nothing fussy or fancy – I’d have featured the salmon, King Salmon – added some shallots, fresh herbs, maybe made the broth from salmon skins and local vegetables, and fresh cream.  Easy peasy.  And I would have brushed the tops of the sourdough rounds with butter and toasted them.  (Click here for recipes from Splash Cafe.)

Top Chef King Crab.

Top Chef King Crab.

And that King Crab challenge at the crab shack?  King crab is one of those… things, meats, main courses, snacks, that needs very little. When we make it, we simmer it in our own crab boil, crack it, shell it, and serve the meat with roasted garlic butter and a piece of fresh bread or a boiled potato.  You really don’t want to neuter the crab, water down the lovely briny-sweet flavor in any way.  A crab omelet?  Ewwww.  Way too rich for King crab.

However, this is all beside the point.  Because the point is guilt and food.

When did it become wrong to eat?  Let me remind you of the facts – we must eat to live.  Just ask anyone who can’t afford to buy food to feed their kids how wrong-headed it is to talk about guilt-free meals.  I won’t even get into the mess that is otherwise known as dieting.

Wrong thinking.

In the middle of the Top Chef episodes I watched this short on another channel.  Some young woman made broccoli stir fry with whole wheat noodles.  It looked okay.  I make stuff like this all the time.  No big deal.  Tastes good.  You can use meat or keep it vegetarian.  What got me was her closing statement, actually, the not-so-secret message behind her recipe:

“The best thing about this meal? It’s guilt-free!”

That statement really bugged me.  Does it bug you?  I know what she meant – low in fat, vegetarian, whole grain, fresh veggies… blah blah blah.  But do the implications of associating guilt with food/eating/meals bug you?  Because they sure as hell bug me.  I could write a super fat book on why we need to stop associating guilt with food and eating.

But I’m still too sick to do so.  One day I will.  Promise.