I saw this movie last week and haven’t felt so nasty coming out of a film in years. As women in the adjacent bathroom stalls chitchatted about the fat content of the ginger snaps they’d just been eating, I really felt like my tiny circle of friends and I are about the only normal, well-adjusted people in all of the US.
Which is also the same way I get to feeling about politics too, and it’s such a grim feeling. Like, I didn’t think I was a total crank, but I guess I’m so much more alienated than I realize. (Of course, the flip side is seeing this movie in NYC and having all these svelte people laughing knowingly and sipping on organic sodas–which is also depressing, because the movie is just shoring up the know-it-allness I’m feeling a smidgen of already and somehow these are supposed to be my kindred spirits, and I just don’t like them that much. Same thing happened watching Bowling for Columbine.)
Anyway, the grossest part of the movie was not the gastric-bypass surgery or the zooming in on the pile of super-size-meal vomit, but the section about school lunches. Which almost made me want to have a kid just so I could cook for it, and prove all my theories through it by making the best-behaved, healthiest, smartest little tyke on the block. Which I’m sure it would appreciate the hell out of…eventually.
But the movie did make me want to give public thanks to my parents for raising me right and teaching me to appreciate good food. I got a home-cooked meal at pretty much every possible opportunity, and my kid-palate wasn’t coddled to (my mother’s frequent disparaging words: “Of course you like that–it’s PURE SUGAR”). Sure, there was a lot of brown rice on the menu, but it wasn’t all about austerity–there was rare roast beef, homemade french fries and red wine too. (My father’s baffled comment once: “I just can’t see how you’d want milk chocolate instead of this bittersweet stuff. It’s so wimpy. Oh well, more for me.”) At the time, I was a terrible houseguest at friends’ places, because all I wanted to do was eat Jif by the spoonful and watch TV, but I’m now glad I ate sardines for lunch instead (even if they made me a little unpopular, shall we say). We ate really well, and this was in New Mexico–not exactly the garden state–and occasionally on food stamps.
So it worries me that now more than ever, people think you’re a freak if you take time to cook–this is the culture that’s fueling the love of fast food that’s detailed in Super-Size Me, and making people insanely fat and unhealthy. I’m putting a permalink up to David Mudd’s sermon on cooking, which I mentioned a while back. It’s pretty un-God-y (as opposed to ungodly), for those leery of the word ‘sermon.’
If you like that, then you can read The Supper of the Lamb, by Robert Farrar Capon (note one Amazon reviewer’s comment that Capon was his “crazy uncle”), which is more God-y, but fantastic and funny and generally the best food book ever. If you live near me, I’ll lend you my copy.
And while we’re talking religion, let me confess a small sin: Although I left Super-Size Me feeling like I could never eat again, and certainly not in the hydrogenation-industrial complex, I was by the next morning sucking down some Krispy Kremes. Don’t tell anyone who was sitting in that movie theater with me.