I have always had a love/hate relationship with food. I have always been a slow eater, much to the frustration of my family and friends. Some sympathetic relatives played it off by saying that it was good that I chewed my food properly and savored every bite, but it was personally frustrating to always be the last person remaining at the dining table, sometimes long after the previous slowest eater had finished their meal. It was especially frustrating in my younger days, because the time spent eating reduced the time spent playing outdoors, watching movies/TV, etc.
The reason why I’m such a slow eater ultimately comes down to biology. I have a small appetite and a fast metabolism. Consequently I’ve always had a slender frame, and I’ve had difficulty gaining muscle. I feel blessed not to have any issues with weight gain, but I would prefer to have a more muscular frame.
When it comes to food, I’m not an overly fussy eater. I can eat almost any ingredient and dishes from almost any cuisine. However, I am a creature of habit with respect to most things, and food is no exception. In Japan, my eating habits tend to revolve around the same handful of dishes: noodle-based dishes such as ramen and udon, and rice-based dishes such as curry and rice, pork cutlet and rice, and sushi. From a young age, I have always enjoyed eating fruit and vegetables, and cannot do without the balancing effects of these foods in my diet.
The main reason why I would say that I have a love/hate relationship with food is that I can go for long periods of time without eating. This causes the issue of eating meals at later times than is ideal, and a lack of fuel for my body to work with. This is especially the case on lazy days off at home, where moving from one’s position in front of the computer while watching a YouTube video feels like an ordeal.
When I’m out and about, food also feels more like a necessary evil than anything else. When we visit sightseeing spots, we want to maximize the amount of time we can spend at those places, and stopping for a meal cuts into that time. In that situation, I would feel satisfied to eat a rice ball, and delay eating a proper meal until after I have visited the sightseeing spot in question.
All of this is to say that I eat to live rather than live to eat. Food itself is not one of life’s great pleasures because the slow pace at which I eat creates pressure and stress. I also have bad habits with regard to keeping regular mealtimes. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I dislike eating a good meal, but rather that it plays a more functional role in my life than anything else. Having said that, I must confess to enjoying watching reality cooking/food/travel shows such as MasterChef Australia or Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares.
metabolism (noun) ? the process and speed by which your body converts food and drink into the energy necessary for life
creature of habit (phr.) ? someone who likes to do the same thing at the same time every day
ordeal (noun) ? an extremely unpleasant experience, especially one that lasts for a long time
out and about (idiom) ? going out and doing things outside of your home
functional (adj.) ? designed to be good at doing a particular job; practical