Content warning: this article contains content relating to eating disorders and relationships with food. Walking through the dining hall, I contemplate what to eat; the pizza looks good, but I don’t think that’s healthy. Ice cream, obviously, is delicious, but then I ask, “am I just using this as a way to cope with my emotions?” I decide to get a salad, wondering how some people around me just eat whatever and don’t gain weight. I wonder why I care so much about what I eat — it’s because I always have. However, there’s a fine line between caring about what you eat in a way that’s helpful and paying attention to your intake in a way that’s obsessive.
When we hear the words “food taboo,” we often conjure up horrifying thoughts of eating dogs or horses; you may gag, or your skin could crawl, at the idea of consuming animals which many Americans would consider members of the family. Yet ask someone from Salento, Italy, about their opinions on horse meat, and they may enthusiastically reply that it’s a delicacy often featured in dishes like pezzetti di carne al pomodoro.
As food is becoming globalized, more countries are adopting what I would call the Universal Modern Cuisine — the diet most prominent in America, which revolves around grains and which, more importantly, holds many taboos against meat. As a result of this, the practice of eating horse meat is slowly declining, even in Italy. Regardless, Italy still remains the largest consumer of horse meat in the European Union, and its consumption is much more normalized in Italy than in the U.S. Given horse meat’s prevalence in Italy, it’s clearly enjoyable for many and must not have any adverse health effects for the consumer — yet most Americans would be extremely wary of any restaurant advertising this delicacy. Since we have already established that there is nothing inherently unhealthy or dangerous associated with eating horse meat, why do millions of people still avoid it for seemingly no reason?
As college students across the nation impatiently await announcements from universities regarding the status of the coming fall semester, many of us are searching for productive and meaningful ways to spend our free time now that classes have ended. With internships, summer research and academic programs cancelled, some of us are trying to readjust to living in our hometowns with parents and siblings, away from the friends, professors and resources we’ve come to rely on at Cornell. As we navigate this new reality, many students are staying connected with peers through podcasting, music-making and Youtubing, innovating new ways to engage with others in the absence of physical space. A few weeks ago, I learned about a free platform called Schefs that aims to connect students from different universities and facilitate interesting discussions about a wide range of topics, from pop music to quantum mechanics, all through a shared passion for food. Co-founded by two college students, Pedro Damasceno and Lola Lafia of Columbia University, Schefs started out as a way for like-minded people from schools across the nation to come together on their campuses and share a themed meal.
The more passionate about health & wellness you are, the more familiar you might be with the delicate balancing act of chasing self-improvement and finding pure self-acceptance. I love eating in a way that makes me feel good from a holistic perspective and I know that minimizing grains, dairy and processed sugar helps with that. I also love chocolate. I love these cookies. They’re as “indulgent” and delicious as any.
One of my earliest memories is of being five or six and having my father, a spicy food fanatic, make me eat one of the dried chilis that comes in kung pao chicken. That was the day I learned that the best antidote to a mouth on fire is not water or even milk, but mouthfuls of plain, steamed white rice. It was also the beginning of my own descent into what my mother felt was madness. From then on, my dad and I were like a cult, only instead of a god we worshipped capsaicin. We went to fancy hot sauce stores on vacation.
Coming back from winter break and getting into the swing of things can be hard, especially if you relied on your family to do all the grocery shopping and meal planning for you during the holidays. If you’re anything like me, your first step back into the world of independence will be a trip to Wegmans.