Lit Crit = Food Critic?
As an English major (and then teacher), one theory of criticism I have little patience for is Reader Response. While reading a piece of literature, you ask: What do you get out of the poem when you read it? How does it make you feel? Me, I just want to dig into the psyche of the author and her work and find out the intended meaning, or the cultural significance. The way the work makes me feel is furthest from my mind.
But when it comes to food and our bodies, we can learn a lot from reader response. Questions like: How does this food make me feel? are critical to understanding our bodies and our relationship to food. If I’m not mistaken, this isn’t the type of question we often ask ourselves.
Yes, I indulged in food this weekend at parties. In the process, I felt great about treating myself (after all, I don’t get out much as a young mom). But by the end of the weekend, I felt I had cheated myself.
I went to bed Sunday night with a headache and lay in bed a long time before I was able to fall alseep. There really is nothing wrong with indulging, but if I ask myself how I feel afterward, and I’m honest, I’m not so quick to jump in the front of the cake line at the next party.
The truth is, I feel awful when I eat a lot of junk. I’m loaded up on sugar and white flour (which my body recognizes as more straight sugar), and I pay for it later: headaches, achy muscles, fuzzy brain. In the end, it’s just not worth it.
This week, I have been craving greens of any kind – cooked kale, swiss chard, a crisp salad – and this is one craving I can indulge in. I’ve loaded up on salads and fresh, homemade soups this week, and my body is thanking me for the gift.
So, how do I feel after the arugula and charred beef salad at lunch today? I feel energized and ready to take on my afternoon.
How does your food make you feel?