In life I think there are two kinds of people; those who eat to live and those who live to eat. Both sides of my family live to eat. Whether it was my Uncle Jerry’s famous jalapeno poppers and spirited eggnog at our annual Perry Christmas party or my mom’s lasagna and Aunt Nancy’s cream puffs at Mazzola family gatherings my family traditions were centered around food. Not all of these traditions were fancy, but eating was a celebration of being alive, it was a celebration of flavor and it was a celebration of family. From birthday cakes to thanksgiving turkey, food is more than mere calories.
I was lucky enough that my parents raised me in a house where our attitude towards food was balanced. We still ate chocolate, we still went out for ice cream, we still had occasional fast food and we certainly still ate pasta, however, my sister and I were taught to read labels at the grocery store and to avoid hydrogenated oils and ingredients we couldn’t pronounce. We bought lots of fruits and veggies and we NEVER bought soda.
As I grew older my interest in food grew beyond my three daily meals. I read about food, I watched television about food, I cooked food and I voraciously ate food. While I, like many others, am drawn to fried foods, decadent deserts and satisfying starches, as I got older I began to make choices based not solely on taste but also based upon health and social responsibility.
Today I try to live with the same balance that my parents taught me. I gave up meat the summer before I entered high school and my sister did so two years later. Three years ago I decided to start eating seafood, and recently I have allowed myself to occasionally indulge in prosciutto and jamon, the only meat I ever crave. Moderation, not deprivation is the key, and I will continue to have decadent meals balanced by healthier ones. I could never give up cheese, nor could I give up tomatoes, or avocado, or grapes. The point is that I love healthy food just as much as I love un-healthy food, and often times more!
While I still live to eat, I have discovered that eating to live is just as important.