What Does Dogma Taste Like?

By FoodNerd March 10, 2009

 cheeseburgerWhenever I feel sick, I go get a cheeseburger.  And no matter the ailment—a hint of flu, the early signs of a cold, a nasty headache, I am instantly better.  The sleep that follows is long and deep, and I awake refreshed.  More effective than a bowl of Tom Yum or miso. Far more enjoyable than gargling with salt water or using the neti pot to run that same water through my nose. I often brag that it is my fail-safe—and delicious—remedy.

But a cheeseburger?  These days, where restaurants and grocery stores proudly toss around the phrases "Organically Grown," "Locally Grown," and "Sustainably Grown," one can feel a bit self-conscious assigning the word "Cure" to a meat-based meal purchased while idling in a car.  The global impact goes on and on, and I cringe when I think owhat Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman would say.

The fact that I usually go to a Northwest fast food chain that claims allegiance to the left side of the consumption debate acts as a weak salve to my guilt.  But, at least I can compost my cup and recycle the burger wrapping afterward!

Does comfort need an agenda or require an explanation?  When I find myself in the drive-thru line, there are typically a few factors at play:  I am tired; there is pain increasing in some form; my patience is limited; and I want minimal human contact.  I also desire something that is warm and will taste good.  Hello Tillamook Cheeseburger.  Or when it’s an emergency, hello Pepper Bacon Cheeseburger.  Always the same, always satisfying.

Lately, though, I have noticed all the unnecessary thinking I do—the ways I trap myself in circles of worry or analysis or explanation.  Never leading anywhere.  Slowly, I’ve been moving toward the other end of the spectrum.  Not denial, not intentional ignorance.  Rather, something more—cliché as it may sound—intuitive.  Reducing all experiences and situations to one question:  Does it feel good?  And reminiscent of a board game from childhood, the answer dictates how to proceed:  If "Yes," move ahead.  If "No," go back and try again.

As important as it is to question the quality of the food one is eating and to consider how the meal’s ingredients contribute to the problems of over consumption and overproduction in the U.S., there is a point where these concerns become paralyzing.  Thus hindering the whole reason to eat in the first place: Sustenance.  While also neglecting the synonyms and distant cousins of sustenance: Nourishment, enjoyment, support, and pleasure.

Does dogma have a taste?  Better than comfort or convenience?  Possibly. But for me, I doubt it.  Because I’m increasingly wary of to-do lists and sentences that depend on the word "Should." I want what I want.  I want what I feel.  And when I’m feeling sick, I want a drive-thru cheeseburger.
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