Term of the Week: Food Scold

Am I a bad mother for letting my daughter cover herself in soft-serve chocolate ice cream? It surely wasn’t organic. But I figured that when you’re at the state fair, you might as well enjoy what’s there (within reason; we didn’t get the chocolate-covered bacon. Yet.).

So this morning I read about the term “food scold” on Eater National. It’s the spot-on term defined as, “A sanctimonious gadfly who can brook no saturated fats nor Tyson chicken breasts being eaten in his or her presence; he who leans over to give stink-eye to fellow diner feeding child Fruit Loops from Ziploc bag to note, “There’s a ton of bad stuff in there, you know.”

I’m all for high-quality, local food and all that, but one should still be able to enjoy a few guilty pleasures or convenience items without feeling wracked by food guilt. Case in point: I thought I’d never give my child fat-free Kraft American (cheese-like) singles, but that’s the one thing she wanted to eat over and over at Grandma’s house. Maybe it was the texture, who knows? But I didn’t get upset. I just let her enjoy them there since I’m not likely to buy them at home. Normally, she gets organic or local high-quality cheeses that aren’t as fun to unwrap. Oh well.

The Eater post specifically mentions the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. I remember hearing about it on NPR and thinking, “I’ve heard that argument already. Who is he really going to convince?” If you’re buying a book like that, you’ve probably already made an informed decision about what you’re eating and you don’t really want to hear the argument over and over again. A prime example of food scold-ism.

I’m not immune to food guilt and scolds, though. See my article “The Carnivore’s Dilemma” in Edible Sacramento magazine. I’m trying to strike a balance between what I can afford and have time to deal with and my eating ideals in our everyday lives. I try not to be a food scold–just enjoy eating without compromising my health too much!

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