Tiffin Project

The Age of Indigestion

by Jacob Galbraith on January 6, 2011

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The holiday season for this little line cook, and several others I’m sure, was spent juggling chaos and leisure, alternating between long days of feeding the frenzied and festive masses and taking some time to sit down, drink some wine, and enjoy the presence of people I care about; the bitter is seldom far removed from the sweet in the last days of the calendar year. During my downtime I found myself bombarded with gluttony, whether my own or that of others, I found it on the table, in the fridge, on the TV, an even on the internet. I classically overstuffed myself during Christmas dinner; too much bird, too much gravy, too much of almost everything really. Afterward, I fell into some strange hybrid of slumber and coma, feast induced to be sure, waking up several hours later to do more eating as well as some giving and getting.

All of this leisure left me exhausted, so I found myself channel surfing, eventually landing on a Man vs. Food marathon. I’m sure we’re all initiated, but for those who aren’t the show revolves around some schmuck that glorifies reckless abandon at the dinner table by gobbling everything he can find, which is generally some grotesque and gigantic version of foods we know and love. I’d only really seen a few clips, and couldn’t be asked to turn away from the train-wreck, so I didn’t. I must have half-assedly sat through 4 or 5 episodes, jaw agape at the profane nature of what I was seeing, before my stomach turned and I felt ashamed for allowing myself to be entertained. It was like one of those nature programs where you watch animals eat, except they usually work pretty hard to get their fix, and are doing it as a means of survival. Snakes will sometimes dislodge their jaws to eat something bigger than nature would prefer, but then they won’t eat until they eventually need more. This buffoon, on the other hand, waddles from grub shack to snack station in search of the next big thing to fit into his belly, seemingly immune to the effects of his folly, but is actually just ignorant. Sadly, he was doing this shit before anyone was watching, and unless he can evolve into a thoroughly more gluttonous and disgusting monster, he’ll hopefully be double-fisting double downs for a non existent audience in the not too distant future.

I’m absolutely tickled to be involved in an industry that is getting all kinds of attention these days. The local/organic/healthful food movement felt to me like a political campaign chock full of hope, not unlike Obama’s in 2008. It could, however, prove to be all for naught, as people seem to have grown tired of the lecture, bored with the informational nature of the aforementioned movement, and are starting to enthusiastically suck on the tit that offers triple thick double chocolate milkshakes. If I were porno, I’d be thinking long and hard about starting a turf war, because food television took away their money shot. Fuck sex, people want to stare at the red-in-the-face-from-eating-so-much-goddamned-grease food network host Guy Fieri wipe burger juice from that godawful chin beard of his with slices of processed cheese. It’s all just a little bit too Hustler, isn’t it? I would gladly embrace some form of censorship of this stuff, perhaps by fuzzing out the chewing sequences, and bleeping out the slurps, burps and foodgasms.

I’m certainly not the first to fire shots in the general direction of these folks, South Park and Letterman have recently added their weight to the tug of war between wholesome and obscene. It is strange to be able to categorize food that way, but here we are, and maybe in a few years it’ll be something to laugh about while we talk about the type two diabetes epidemic, our livers swollen and useless from an era of overindulgence. Past generations have been able to plead a lack of knowledge to excuse their vices, but ours can’t be treated the same way; we know better. It all started so innocently: an extra patty here, some bacon stuffed there, but then it was battered, fried and knocked into orbit, growing more and more bizarre each day. The hope is that this is just a phase, but it’s a very real possibility that this behavior will piss off the parts of the world that know intimately what it is to be actually hungry; we’ll be well marbled from eating all the food, and they’ll be hungry and angry. Perhaps the threat of being eaten to death could keep us from eating ourselves to death.

~ Jacob Galbraith


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