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Food and culture: The new food Puritans

Food puritan"Is Food the New Sex?" is the question explored in this brilliant essay by Mary Eberstadt, research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford and consulting editor to the Institution's bimonthly Policy Review.

Trying to understand a curious reversal in today's western culture, she argues that the evaporation of moralising over today's sexuality has led to a parallel flood in moralising over other areas. Specifically, yesterday's bedroom prude has given way to today's kitchen prude: a paradoxical libertine, zealously non-judgemental about whom, how, where and why one makes sexual choices - even as she grows increasingly shrill, dogmatic and restrictive about what makes for a morally proper diet.

“I find it really interesting that these two codes, one about food and one about sex, seem to be existing in this inverse relationship, where as one gets stricter the other gets more lenient,” Mary says.

“I think the fallout [over the negative consequences of the post-pill sexual revolution] makes a lot of people uncomfortable, in a way that they’re not even necessarily fully aware of. We live with these major consequences…day in and day out. And I think a lot of people have the sense this has all gone too far, that nobody meant for the party to have gotten so out of hand, and no one knows how to stop it. My supposition is that part of what’s behind these increasingly moralistic attitudes toward food is that people have displaced the kinds of feelings human beings have always had about sex onto food instead.”

Food for thought for those left perplexed by the seeming contradictions of today's criticism of the food system, Mary's insight on the underlying morality of the movement is crystallized in this engaging interview with Truth in Food.

You can listen to the interview here....

Read her essay, "Is Food the New Sex" here....

 

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