‘Bread is practically sacred’: how the taste of home sustained my refugee parents

The US approach to eating is characterised by the fundamentally puritan notion of self-denial as a means of improvement. To be healthy, one has to eliminate tempting, enjoyable foods from one’s diet. The process complies with the basic puritan operation of rejecting – indeed transcending – pleasure in order to become a better person. Many people in the US see value in denying the desire and controlling the body, which could earn them the reward of a better, healthier and, ultimately, more moral life. This explains a number of self-disciplining US obsessions: meaningless knee-destroying marathons, gluten-free nutrition, 0% milk, kale, yoga etc. This is where the wretchedness of traditional US cuisine comes from, as does the overreaction of compulsive eating and obesity. The basic choice is between puritan discipline of self-denial and total, unchecked, addictive indulgence – in either direction, there is little but joylessness.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.