Nor should cornbread. And not everything needs cheese. Examples of two things that do not need cheese: cornbread and grits. Cornbread and grits do not need sugar and/or cheese. Blasphemy.
Food is tied in with identity, as is the case of my insistence that grits and cornbread needn’t have sugar in them. My husband begs to differ on the grits and made me try grits with sugar in them the other day. He made the argument that was how it was done when he was stationed in Georgia many years ago, which was to counter the argument that I spent my summers with family in Tennessee when I was growing up and was not taught to add sugar to grits. We have had this disagreement for several years. I finally agreed to try them. They tasted like a five year old crushed up stale kettle corn in a bowl of water and squished it all together with tiny fingers. To each their own, I guess.
A lot of rules about food come from broader culture, faith traditions, and family norms. Food keeps us alive, food keeps us connected. Food is ritualistic and communal – wedding cakes, barbecues, Thanksgiving dinners, and potlucks. Rules for a particular food can vary by region, like sugar and grits (Which admittedly is no less Southern as grits without sugar, it just happens to be gross). Food has a funny way of bringing people together.
Except people who more or less don’t feel togetherness don’t often bond over food. Food-prominent events are at best awkward and at worst prompting events for self-destructive behavior. There is no quick advice for these people that hasn’t already been heard a million times over. Cope ahead, positive/rational self-talk, just eat anyway and don’t hate yourself for it, stay in the moment, etc. etc. Not bad advice, just won’t fix anything in the long-term.
My husband and I went to an event where we live on New Year’s Eve with our seven year-old daughter. My husband made a comment about walking around enough to burn off calories from eating Christmas candy. Daughter didn’t get the joke. I quickly said, “I’ll explain it later” and told her to enjoy her elephant ear. Of course when we got home to watch the ball drop, everyone in Times Square was crowned with a Planet Fitness ad. She didn’t get that one, either, but was more interested in getting into pajamas at that point in the evening.
By Sunday afternoon, the ratio of fitness goals to political discussions on my Facebook feed has skewed to the former. The inauguration will come right around the time people ditch their resolutions, so that will change by the end of the month. There may be a slight upswing in dieting when Lent starts, but it will die off soon enough.
Except for some people. For some the pursuit of perfect eating and perfect body doesn’t stop easily. Much of eating disorders is biology – more than most people realize – but New Year’s resolutions are a delightful environmental factor.
I didn’t make any resolutions. So no, I’m not trying to lose weight. Nor will I be trying to help anyone do so.