Gastronomic Superiority and the Death of Dinner Conversation

There's a lot I'm not eating right now; I'm just not talking about it. For instance, I'm not eating woodland creatures of any kind. Squirrels, skunks and rabbits -- basically anything that appeared in Bambi is off my diet. Technically speaking, I'm woodland creature free and have been my whole life. In fact, I'm not eating any animal that may have appeared in Dumbo or The Lion King for that matter. Circus animals as well as African animals are also off my diet. When you think about it, it's safe to say that I'm Disney creature free. I do not and will not eat any animated creature that may have appeared in a Disney movie. I wouldn't eat those precious mice in Cinderella for all the carbs in Italy! I just don't talk about it because I don't need to define myself that way or make you feel badly about eating Bambi's mother.

I don't think I can sit through another meal with someone asking an exhausted server about every ingredient in every menu offering including the bar menu and then rattling off all of the things they are not eating right now. If there is an ingredient in the world that will kill you or cause you pain, fair enough, but otherwise, stop torturing restaurant staff. These dietary discussions are taking up far too much real estate in the conversation. I want to know how you're doing, what's going on with your job, where you bought the fabulous shoes you're wearing and about that trip you took to Italy. Less interesting to me is that you are eating all plant based fats or all meat or no dairy or no gluten or no sugar or food. Eat or don't eat what ever you want, but I implore you to stop talking about it.

I've suffered hash tag overload about your cleansing updates: #day1feelingfab, #2lovingthejuicelife, #day3stillatitandabithangrybutitsworthit!!! Post away. I've had to look at endless photos of your juice which gets more time than a Sports Illustrated model and I politely encourage your daily updates about your produce delivery and your discovery of hemp seeds, but when we sit down for a meal, I would like to eat that meal without dissecting every aspect of what we are about to consume. And I really don't want to listen to you berate yourself for eating the fries or congratulate yourself for eating the salad with lemon juice. Just eat it or don't.

Just as I do not need you to inventory the food you are electing to consume or avoid consuming, please spare me the histrionics of your caloric intake. I don't care for you to recount why you can't eat much because you ate too much over the weekend, which happened to be four days ago. Please also avoid telling me how stuffed you are after your salad and glass of water. Congratulations, you are a rabbit. I love rabbits. I wouldn't eat one of course, because I don't eat descendants of Thumper.

I miss the days of good wine and gorgeous conversation that ran deeper than our dietary habits. I miss people who simply ordered their food without preamble. How glorious were the days when the person across from you was more important than reciting your nutritional habits. How and what we consume has become a new bastion for shame and blame and martyrdom.

I had a meal with someone who said, "Unlike most people I don't need to eat everything on my plate." She was undoubtedly too full of self-righteousness to consume any more food. Gastronomic superiority is a new form of discrimination.

Undoubtedly, there are a myriad of health benefits that come from eating better and we should all strive to become more mindful of what we put into our bodies, but it seems that diatribes on eating habits have become a full time occupation.

Before my meal I would rather not know what might happen to your face if you consume anything with dairy or the gas you'll get from certain varieties of nuts or how your IBS acts up with certain vegetables. I do not need to understand the medical analysis behind your menu choices.

I long for the table of meals gone by where conversations were dense with story and dripping with laughter. We did not waste our precious time together on criticizing the selection, agonizing over the ingredients or lamenting about preparation. I fear that all of this talk is not good for my heart or indigestion.