We all need to eat. It’s built in. Calories are essential. Judging by the look of many Americans, we take this necessity a bit too seriously. However, since eating and preparing to eat are lynchpins to our existence, I have spent some considerable time thinking about food. It seems to me that food falls into certain categories, as do all of us who eat it.

SNACKS. By definition, snacks are portable small meals. People have snacks between meals to boost their energy. Snacks ought to be healthy and low calorie. However, the American food conglomerates have turned snacks into “fun sized” versions of meals. We have smaller Blizzards, for example. I have often wondered how any person can finish a normal sized Blizzard, which probably amounts to around ten thousand calories. But as a “tide me over,” the smaller Blizzard is more manageable at around two thousand calories. Other “snacks” in America that have become popular are granola bars covered in chocolate (perhaps six hundred calories), pudding cups that have no sugar, no fat, and therefore no nutritive value, little one hundred calorie bags of everything from pretzels to cookies. My mother used to hand me an apple when I needed a snack.

COMFORT FOOD. Speaking of Mothers, they are the originators of “comfort food.” Again, we all like to remember tucking in to piles of mashed potatoes and gravy, pot roast, macaroni and cheese, and things like apple pie and brownies from scratch. Apparently, we still do this. But today, the comfort food is produced by Sarah Lee, Colonel Sanders and Marie Callender, and we are so comfortable that few of us wear pants that don’t have elastic waistbands.

GOURMET FOOD. If you watch the Food Network, you see this type of food prepared daily. Ina Garten, Emeril, and Mario Batali show everyone how it’s done. Frankly, I get weary of all the mincing, sautéing, macerating and gardening that is necessary to produce this food. Any recipe with more than three steps and four ingredients is exhausting. I love to eat gourmet food in restaurants, but having it at home requires at least a Christmas tree and one daughter.

ORGANIC FOOD. I am into the whole organic movement. I am embarrassed by the size of my carbon footprint. So whenever I can, I purchase organics. We all need to remember that organic food does not look flawless, like the things we are accustomed to seeing in the produce section. The apples may be misshapen and have little holes in them. The beans may not be all the same size. But organics are much more healthful. However, and this is a BIG however, organic produce, while healthful, still must be washed. I have had the diarrhea that proves this tenet.

RAW FOOD. This is a food movement that I can’t really understand. These foodies feel that anything cooked will make you sick or even kill you. Meat is obviously out for these people. I have actually been to a “raw food” restaurant, where their approximation of pizza was, I will have to say, interesting. Beet slices may look pepperoni-ish, but the resemblance ends there. The good news for raw food lovers is that pineapple tastes great uncooked.

I applaud all those people out there who are appalled at the beer bellies and large rear ends of many Americans. I think that we should all consider joining gyms and taking the stairs. Let us all remember our New Year’s Resolutions and get ourselves in order! I plan to to do this immediately.

I have packed some snacks into the pockets of my sweat pants, and I am going out for a walk.

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