As I watched for the first time Morgan Spurlock’s engaging (and often disgusting) documentary Supersize Me about the fast food industry and the devastating effect that it is having on the health of millions, I couldn’t help but reflect on my recent visit to Eataly in New York.
The smells that greeted me when I entered near Caffe Lavazza let me know that I had come to the right place. After a delicious cappuccino, I began to explore: gelati, dolci, formaggi, salumi, la pizza, la pasta, le verdure, paninoteca – you get the idea. Being inside this abundant, beautiful marketplace is a gratifying experience for those of us who believe in the nourishing power of good food – food that not only sustains our bodies, but also our souls.
But some of us never get it. Food is so much more than a way to chase away hunger. I can’t imagine a day without fresh fruits or vegetables, yet there are people like the Big Mac fan in Spurlock’s movie who, when he enters his local McDonald’s, the cashier who knows him well only asks, “How many?” Are convenience and low cost the only deciding factors when we make our food choices? Or should we consider the cost of future medical bills when we order a high fat, high sugar meal?
The owners of Eataly are people who understand the real value of food, not merely in terms of the dollars it can generate, but in terms of our need to eat and drink high quality food and wine. If I am going to overeat, as the term Supersize Me implies, then let me overload on quality. Give me just one normal-sized, well-prepared meal made from fine ingredients, and my soul will also feel satisfied. What more could I ask for?