My husband recently sent me a link to this Podcast, with “Judge” John Hodgman and guest Alton Brown, who help a couple decide who is right or wrong around eating decaying food and more. It’s worth a listen, and if you don’t want any “spoliers” (haha) stop reading, listen to the podcast and come back. Who is “right?” Never so simple around something as fundamental to life and self as food.
Husband: Eats spoiled food, rotten food, from the trash if he has to, fallen fruit on ground with dog poop. He also doesn’t order at restaurants and waits to finish what others are eating.
Wife: Buys lots of organic produce, and hates that her husband eats spoiled food. She even puts soap on food so he won’t eat it.
Simple, right? What husband is doing is gross and he must stop! The podcast is full of interesting tidbits about decay, avocados, and food safety, but what it came down to for me was this: Both of these folks let “shoulds” rule and ruin their relationship with food, and I’m sympathetic to both parties.
Husband: says he hates food waste, (I would have liked them to probe a little more into his past, as I suspect food insecurity or poverty may have played more of a role), but it seems like an extension of his general desire to not waste anything, and maybe a little passive aggression thrown in. He thinks he “should” eat any food rather than let it go to waste.
Wife: Thinks she “should” eat healthier and so buys lot of organic produce that rots, since she’d really rather eat—and does eat—Fritos. To be clear, I have nothing against Fritos or organic food, but the point is she buys the organic, thinking it’s the right thing to do, but she doesn’t really seem to want to eat it, and doesn’t much of the time.
(Here is an older post about “should” and eating.) I too have had the virtuous food purchase (shocker, it was kale) rot in my fridge. I also grew up with a father who ate foods well past their prime, “It wants eating” he would say, gazing at the moldy cheese, and I would answer, “No, it wants throwing away.” (My father grew up in post-war rationing in Britain, where every crumb counted.)
Turns out my dad was right, as was the husband, at least with cheese and yogurt, and most things in the fridge in terms of safety, and if everyone consumed the way these two men did, our environment would be a lot better off, but I digress.
The verdict basically was for the wife to stop buying stuff she doesn’t eat, and for the husband to stop eating mangoes that have fallen on the poopy ground, and a few other things not in the fridge.
Seemed like a fun podcast to share and think a little more about how shoulds can spoil eating.
What are your shoulds? Do they help you feel good about food, eating and your body? Does it “work?”