Posts Tagged 'Food is supposed to be enjoyable'

Too bad it’s necessary for survival

Most of the topics I write about on my blog are things I find to be somewhat avoidable. If people just paid a little attention to their surroundings, and the other people therein, instead of being self-absorbed assholes all the time, I think I would be at least 50% less infuriated than I am in the current situations.

But there are also unavoidable things that really tick me off too, and today I’m going to talk about one of these: eating. Specifically, eating in public. Obviously, ingesting food is necessary for survival. And, as I’ve covered before, I love food. So I’m not saying people should stop eating around other people, because that’s an impossibility for countless reasons. But it doesn’t mean I have to find it enjoyable.

Because let’s face it: people are fucking slobs. Everyone is. I have never seen ONE person eating in public that didn’t make my stomach turn. The act of eating is just inherently gross, and it doesn’t matter if you’re eating a salad or a big greasy burger. All the rest of us can do is try and avert our eyes and focus on our own meal, knowing full well that we also look like gross slobs. Some people are worse than others, but right now I’m just talking about the general act of eating in public. There’s always crunching or squishing or spilling or swallowing or any of a plethora of other disgusting sounds that accompany eating. And while we’re generally unaware of our own eating sounds (although not always, and man does that kill my appetite really quickly), it’s impossible to ignore someone else’s, whether they’re a friend or some stranger sitting three tables away.

However, as I said, there’s nothing to be done about this, so I mostly just try to ignore it, for the sake of my sanity (hey, I never said all the things that pissed me off made sense). But then you get the people who are just over-the-top disgusting when they eat. One time, Significant Other and I were on the subway and a person sitting across from us was eating something gross (maybe fast food, I don’t remember) and belching loudly literally after every bite. AFTER EVERY FUCKING BITE. By the time we got to our stop I had lost my appetite for the rest of the night. It was one of the most disgusting public transportation encounters I’ve ever had (and I’ve been near people who don’t even try to cover their mouths when they sneeze. Hooray!). I understand some people have digestive issues, but I’ve never seen someone just blatantly disregard the people around them in order to wolf down a burger. If that were me, and that was an issue I had, you know I would fucking lock myself in my apartment before eating anything. But I understand not everyone feels such shame about these disgusting things (even though in this case the person definitely should have). And sometimes eating around other people, like at a restaurant, is unavoidable. BUT NOT ON THE SUBWAY. And these were not delicate, barely noticeable burps. They drowned out conversation and stank and UGH UGH UGH I think I’m having a terrible flashback, hold on.

Anyway, on top of the disgusting belching, this person also chewed with their mouth open. You could hear their lips smacking together and their teeth grinding and…okay, I have to stop now because it’s grossing me out just thinking about it again. My point is, if you HAVE to eat in public, maybe try not to be THE MOST DISGUSTING THING I HAVE EVER SEEN, OKAY? Ugh. It’s fucking public space, not your dining room, so learn a little decorum.

The other thing that drives me crazy is people who wolf down their food like they haven’t had a meal in three weeks and may never have one again. I’m a fast eater myself, but I still manage to have conversations during a meal and take breaks and BREATHE BETWEEN BITES, for example. I’m talking about people who are so focused on the food that it might as well be the only thing that exists in the universe. While that would be nice, it’s NOT TRUE. And eating that fast only seems to exacerbate all the problems inherent in the process (the noises, the mess, etc.), so it is EVEN LESS ATTRACTIVE THAN NORMAL, which is saying a lot considering how unattractive I consider normal eating to be. Now, if that’s truly the first meal the person has had in weeks, I won’t begrudge them the desire to cram it into their mouth as quickly as possible. But the odds of that being true are low, although not nonexistent. And if it’s at a nice restaurant, the odds are even lower. JUST TAKE YOUR TIME. Unless there’s something I’m unaware of, NOBODY IS GOING TO TAKE YOUR PLATE AWAY FROM YOU.

Luckily for the human race as a whole, but unluckily for me, this peeve extends beyond people and into the rest of the animal kingdom as well. You may remember Glutton Cat from my last post, and how aptly he is named. Well, watching him eat is almost as bad as being in a restaurant full of belchers and fast eaters would be. He pretty much inhales his food in about 20 seconds, making a huge mess that I then have to clean up, and making this gross smacking noise the entire time, probably because he’s sucking the food down so quickly. In that time, he also manages to get his bowl completely clean. I mean, it looks like it just came out of the fucking dishwasher. You would think I starve this fucking cat. So, he’s basically the worst combination of fast eater and noisy eater, my two most hated types. And I have to sit in the kitchen EVERY DAY and listen to/watch him eat, to make sure he doesn’t inhale the other cats’ food and the plates and possibly the entire kitchen in his haste. THIS IS SOME KIND OF TERRIBLE TORTURE and also why I don’t believe in God, because even a vengeful God wouldn’t be spiteful enough to do this to me.

Look. I know this is one of my personal neuroses, but when you stop to think about it I don’t think ANYONE could tell me that eating isn’t gross. Food is (mostly) delicious and I endorse eating it and enjoying it, but maybe SOME OF US (I’m looking at you, subway belcher) should keep to themselves when they eat. Nobody wants to hear your nauseating soundtrack.

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I’m sure if you keep doing that you’ll get what you want

My cats and I are in an epic battle. All they want to do is eat all the food, and all I want is for them not to die of obesity.

One of my cats is a serious glutton. I don’t know what his problem is, but unlike most cats, who will graze all day if you leave food out, my one cat will eat it all IMMEDIATELY as if he hasn’t eaten in DAYS and he may never eat AGAIN. So about a year ago when we took him to the vet, we were warned that he was just over his target weight with the potential to be obese if we just kept letting him eat.

So this means that now we only feed the cats at set times during the day. Once in the morning, once before I pick Significant Other up from the train (around 5) and once before we go to bed. We’ve been doing this schedule for nearly a year now, with some variations here and there for numerous reasons. The other two cats seem to get it and know when food time is coming and will follow me around only close to those times. Glutton Cat still hasn’t caught on.

Since we moved into our new place and I started working from home most the time, between 3 and 5 pm Glutton Cat just sits and stares at me. And if I move—I don’t just mean getting up and heading in the general direction of the kitchen, I mean even if I so much as twitch or breathe heavily—he fucking meows at me. And not just one meow. A whole string of them. Just in case I didn’t hear the first five, he adds five more. And just in case I didn’t hear him the last time I breathed, he meows again. And just in case I didn’t notice him, he’ll jump on my (small) desk. And stare. And meow.

Breaking news: I feed you at the same fucking time EVERY DAY. It’s been a YEAR NOW. Please catch on ANY TIME YOU LIKE and LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE.

Because at 3pm, I am still working. And there are TWO HOURS TO GO before you’re getting food, Glutton Cat. I mean, the other two cats seem marginally more intelligent, but the more Glutton Cat freaks out about food, the more they start to think maybe it IS food time and they should freak out, too. Soon I’m sitting in my office trying to do work and I have a chorus of cats sitting around me expecting food when it’s 3:30 and there’s still 90 minutes before they get to eat.

I think in his tiny dysfunctional brain, he must think that I feed him every day after he meows for two hours BECAUSE of his meowing and general creeper attitude of staring at me from any location in my office. Like he’s finally worn me down, EVERY DAY AT THE SAME TIME, with his persistence.

It’s actually fucking unbelievable how this happens like CLOCKWORK, yet he hasn’t caught on to the ACTUAL CLOCKWORK OF THE FACT THAT HE EATS AT THE SAME TIME EVERY FUCKING DAY. He fucking knows when it’s time for him to meow, like he can read the digital clock on my computer and see that it’s 3pm, so it’s time for fucking constant meows, but he can’t cotton on to the fact that he eats at 5pm NO MATTER WHAT.

Frankly, if it were up to me, I wouldn’t give him his food until he STOPPED meowing. Because then maybe there would be a tiny fucking light bulb in his tiny fucking brain that would go off, and he would realize that THE MEOWING, IT DOES NOTHING.

But then I’d feel like I was inadvertently punishing the other, non-stupid cats. In school, I always hated being punished when the dumb kids did something wrong, because I was a smart kid. So I don’t want to do that, even if it’s just to my cats. So I just make sure I feed them at the same time every day, and at night I pray that someday Glutton Cat will fucking get a clue.

You all might think I’m being a little harsh, calling him a glutton, but there’s another reason for it: aside from him thinking ALL THE TIME IS FOOD TIME and OMG I HAVEN’T EATEN IN DAYS, he also takes it upon himself to eat the other cats’ food. I give them all the same fucking amount, and Glutton Cat will scarf his down in 20 seconds, and then see that the other two STILL HAVE FOOD, SO CLEARLY I HAVE GIVEN THEM MORE! WHY?! WHY IS LIFE SO HARD?! and then he goes over and tries to nose into their dish and wolf down their food, too. I literally have to stand in the kitchen and monitor them while they eat to make sure Glutton Cat doesn’t eat all the food before the other cats can finish. I mean, it’d be one thing if he went to their bowls once they had walked away, but he PUSHES THEM AWAY AND TAKES THEIR FOOD. So I can’t just put their food down and fucking go back to work (because lately I am ALWAYS WORKING); I have to stand there for 15 minutes and chase Glutton Cat away from the other bowls.

He’s so convinced that he’s being starved to death, sometimes he doesn’t even finish the food in his own bowl before he tries to steal food from the other cats. If that isn’t gluttony, I don’t know what is. Maybe if he didn’t inhale his food, he would realize that HE ACTUALLY HAS A PRETTY FUCKING SWEET DEAL. He gets to sleep all day (until 3pm), then he gets to fucking stuff his face with food, and then he gets to GO BACK TO SLEEP. I wish I could do that. So stop being an asshole, Glutton Cat. YOUR LIFE IS NOT THAT HARD.

Frankly, I don’t feel like this is asking too much of a cat. Look, I know they have teeny little brains and are mostly just cute, but all I ask is that Glutton Cat take a fucking break from harassing me from 3 to 5 every fucking day. I already deal with enough whining idiots in my job; I don’t need one sitting in my office with me complaining directly in my ear for two hours EVERY DAY.

I like to enjoy my food. Go figure

I am over society’s obsession with dieting. I think it’s important to eat healthy but also sometimes eat things you enjoy even if they’re less-than-healthy. And of course it’s important that, no matter what you eat, it’s done in moderation. But I hate seeing the way that people seem to agonize over food, because there’s pressure right now to be ultra-healthy and only eat a teeny-tiny amount of food and count calories or whatever (and while the two are related, I’m talking about this independently of the additional pressure to be stick thin (which, hello, isn’t always an indication of being healthy). I will rant about that another day). It’s fucking annoying. People should be able to enjoy their damn food. They shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting a damn sandwich sometimes.

Whenever I eat out at a restaurant, or go out for lunch during the work day, I see the same thing. People sitting there, poking at a fucking salad, looking miserable. Now, I’m sure some people enjoy salads as meals. Me, I’m part Italian. To me, a salad is something that comes before the actual meal (and that meal would also be 6-8 courses to even be considered worth eating) and lettuce is a garnish by itself (Having lobster? Put it on top of some lettuce. BAM–instance fancification). In a normal situation, I think salads are fine as a light meal, like when you’re having a late lunch and don’t want to spoil your appetite for dinner. And I know that some people can make and consume giant salads with a zillion toppings and be happy and satisfied. But a lot of people I see seem to be eating salads because it’s considered healthy, not because they actually want the fucking salad. And it makes me mad, not at the people, but at the fact that they feel like they have to keep up some healthy street cred or something. Maybe they really wanted a panini, but those have bread, you see, and all bread is DEADLY. Or something. So they settle for the salad. A salad that is often kind of wilty and has maybe three add-ins (cucumber, carrots and tomatoes are usually the standards in this city). If you start to get too fancy, the salad will suddenly become more expensive than the sandwich you actually wanted (because restaurants know it’s trendy to have salads as meals, but they also know that a basic salad is kind of boring, so they charge out the ears to get anything even remotely interesting. And I’m not talking grilled chicken (which they also charge for). I mean like…olives. Or radishes).

Again, I know the importance of having a healthy diet. And I don’t mean to completely hate on salads–I eat them myself sometimes. But I hate seeing people look so miserable with their meals, like eating brings them no joy at all. So what if it’s a salad, and therefore healthy? If it’s making people fucking miserable because all they ever eat is salad and never have that burger they really want, then what’s the fucking point? All I’m saying is, people need to balance their meals–sure, have salads, but occasionally indulge in that sandwich or whatever you’re craving. Get a little fucking enjoyment out of your food, and screw anyone who might comment on your “unhealthy” choice. You know what? It’s for your fucking mental health. Breaking news: Pretty much anything is bad for you eat too much of it. And new studies seem to come out all the time about how wine is good, no, wait, it’s bad! Bread is terrible! No, wait, sometimes it’s okay! CARBS WILL KILL YOU–no, actually, you need some carbs sometimes!

My point is that you pretty much need at least a little bit of everything, and sometimes things that are thought to be bad for you turn out to be necessary–in moderation. MODERATION IS THE KEY HERE. Don’t eat a pound of ground beef, but a normal-sized burger every once in a while is not going to kill you. It might even make you HAPPY. THERE’S AN IDEA. MAYBE FOOD AND EATING SHOULD BE ENJOYABLE! HOW CRAZY!

And while vegetables and fruits are certainly good for you, you can’t get all the essential things from them (most, yes, but not all). Unless you are vegetarian or vegan, a little meat isn’t going to hurt you.

I just think people should be able to enjoy their meals. It’s fucking miserable to be eating lunch somewhere (and usually I have a panini or other type of sandwich when I eat lunch out–GASP) and see so many people eating what they think they should eat instead of what they want to eat. And trust me, you can tell the difference.

The other thing about dieting that drives me crazy is people who diet without doing their research. I was in the kitchen at my office once around lunch, and someone was heating up a bagel when her friend came in. The friend starts talking about how the bagel smells so good, but she’s on a no-carb diet and the only bread product in their house is for her husband’s sandwiches. Now, she said no carbs, which leads me to assume that her goal is to CONSUME NO CARBOHYDRATES. That is idiotic, because you need some carbs. So do your fucking research first, please. Don’t just believe what Oprah or Dr. Phil or whoever tells you. And really, anyone who wants to go on a diet should talk to a nutritionist, because everyone’s individual needs are different. But usually a diet that entirely eliminates a food group or substance type is a bad idea, because as I said, at least a little bit of everything is necessary to truly be considered healthy. Yes, even sugar. Not a very large amount, mind you, but SOME. Why is this so fucking hard for people to understand?

Man, I was talking about how people seem to be miserable when they’re out to eat, but I forgot about all the pathetic things I’ve seen just in my office. That woman with the bagel? Had it plain. I can’t think of anything more miserable for a bagel than having no toppings (and what’s the point of eating a bagel if you’re not going to put SOMETHING on it? Just eat a loaf of bread, then). I’ve seen people have an APPLE for lunch. Just one apple. Asshole, you know you’re going to be hungry again in like 30 minutes, so who are you even kidding?

Another annoying thing about the dieting trend, going back to that bagel story, is people who feel the need to declare to everyone that they’re on a diet. Sure, maybe your friends care, but it also adds to their guilt if they aren’t also on some kind of diet. I bet the woman eating the bagel was even more miserable once her friend talked about her diet than she would’ve been before. Because you can’t help but look down at your meal–that someone else just said they aren’t eating because it’s not healthy–and wonder if you should also be on that diet. And some people don’t just talk about their diet, they brag about it, and there is no purpose to that other than to shame people who aren’t dieting (whether they “need” to or not). Don’t brag about all the delicious and wonderful foods you choose not to eat because you think it makes you more healthy than your friends, because we all know you want a piece of chocolate or some french fries as badly as the rest of us. You’re not better than anyone just because you get no enjoyment out of your food. Keep it to yourself unless someone asks you how your diet is going (but even then, there’s a difference between talking and bragging about it). Otherwise, they don’t want to know about it, because they’d like to enjoy their lunch without feeling inferior to some ambiguous standard of what it means to be “healthy”.

Despite this rant, sometimes even I get sucked into feeling guilty for eating something I enjoy but know isn’t the healthiest option. Some days I walk into my sandwich shop and think. “Today, I’ll have a salad for lunch!” But then I look at how much they charge for all the add-ins I’d want to make the salad even mildly enjoyable and realize the panini is like half the price for potentially more enjoyment. I’d be better off making a salad myself at home, because it’d be cheaper and exactly what I want it to be. But then I get the panini and sit down and look around me and feel the societal pressure of the fad to be health obsessed and diet obsessed and calorie obsessed. It’s hard not to when you’re inundated with it on every magazine cover or news show or whatever, about all the newest diets and ways to get flat abs and be ready for the beach. I wish I could tell the media to fuck off. I deserve to enjoy a fucking sandwich every once in a while–or a slice of cheesecake, for that matter–without feeling like I’m making a poor life choice. And even if I am, it’s nobody’s business but my own.

So go forth, people, and occasionally enjoy the food you’re eating no matter what society tells you.


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