Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Thoughts on Food and Life

This morning, my uncle passed away, at home with his daughter, just as he wanted. He was an adventurous rascal who fought in the South Pacific during World War, moved to Alaska in the late 1940s, and welcomed friends and strangers into his home. He died of mesothelioma, an asbestos lung cancer. He is the fifth family member to be diagnosed with cancer in the past eight years, and the fourth to succumb to it. So, as you can see, I am so glad that Chris at Mele Cotte posted the recipes today for the first ever Cooking to Combat Cancer event.

My uncle lived a full life. And he loved food. On a remote island in Alaska, he had one of the most amazing pantries one can imagine; among the canned venison and salmon, tucked behind those tins of beans, he had palm sugar, hum ha (shrimp paste), and capers. He was opinionated, and thought the food and exercise obsessions of those who lived in "the lower forty-eight" were ridiculous.

He may have had a point. One of the things that I've been realizing for a while now is how much guilt we have when it comes to food. Think about it: meat eaters are criticized by vegeterians. People who believe in "slow-food only" criticize those who would dare use a cake mix once in while. Vegans and vegetarians are often treated like the dotty old aunt in the attic. Low fat, low carb, Atkins, Zone, South Beach. Eggs are bad, eggs are good.

Life is so short. We live in a time when we have so many wonderful food choices. We should try, I believe, to eat healthily as much as possible, but one of the things I learned from my uncle, who lived to 87, is to eat with joy, and love what you eat. The attitude with which you eat may be just as important as what you put in your mouth. As a friend of mine recently said, "I'm sure I've eaten a donut or two that were actually healthy for me!"

I just had a piece of homemade rum cake. I will follow it with some Swiss chard and broccoli tonight, along with some tofu. These are my choices today, and I am happy with them. I can just picture my uncle smiling down at me, and praising me. Not for the chard, or the tofu. But for the rum cake.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Chris said...

What a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing about your uncle. Sounds like you have one amazing guardian angel!

April 10, 2007 9:56 PM  

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