Food courts suck!

 

A preposterous statement, such as, “eating should be about…eating.”
The understated simplicity is an affront to irony, but a wise statement we should heed, nevertheless.

 

In our age of fast-paced self-important flailing about amid unreasonable schedules and obligations, between emailing on the go and never leaving a job far behind, this mantra needs to be repeated.

 

Eating should be about…eating. Because it’s not.
No, eating is about everything but eating. The act of eating in the early 21st Century is about emotions and convenience and routine and mindless supplication to habit. Eating is rarely about eating now.

 

Eating has become a joke. Food is a gimmick.
We don’t eat for the sake of eating.
We eat because we are addicted to the taste of specific foods or we eat because we’re bored or we eat because it is 6pm or we eat because we have to run to an appointment or we eat because we need to keep up with the Joneses or we eat because we want to chatter among of a group of human cattle gathered around the trough in a pronounced display of social immersion. We eat to stave off any number of unpleasant intrusions in our fragile and hectic lives. But eating as an act of eating is not to be seen.

 

We don’t eat mindfully.
Eating is an ingredient, a survival mechanism distorted by our civilized busy-bodied vehemence.

 

There are certain eating habits I dislike strongly.

 

I don’t like to eat while I’m walking or physically on the go. This includes eating while I’m driving. I don’t see the point. This is not eating. This is shoveling food in your mouth for no apparent reason other than to satisfy some mysterious subconcious appetite which bears no resemblance to the primal biological appetite which signals your brain that you need nourishment. Eating on the run is not a survival tool. It’s a mental symptom. It is a psychological ploy to sate hungers that are not physical.

 

I also hate eating in mall food courts or buffets. I refuse.
This is assembly line gluttony. They are loud, rushed and chaotic.

 

I saw this NBC video feature on MSN entitled “What should you eat at the mall food court?”

 

The story presumes to cough up dietary wisdom in search of healthy eats within the very, very limited confines of the typical mall food court, which is akin to advising you on the safest way to have sex with an HIV+ partner.

 

At least in the case of mall food courts, my advice is simple: don’t.

 

Mall food courts are the most obscene travesties of human eating. They are too busy and the food sucks. The tables are small and condensed and you bring food to your table on a ridiculous tray that is filthy but appears moist from the repeated wiping (with a dirty rag) from the flunky help. The food is mass produced detritus. Mall court feeding is the penultimate form of artificially enhanced existence. The lowest common denominator of mediocrity runs rampant between the flimsy aluminum table legs and over the serving counters where the distant and disinterested food servers stand while scooping out preheated and prefabricated food you can call…lunch To call this stuff food is offensive in itself, but to be forced to eat it within the rushed and loud context of suffocating humanity echoes the pitiful sight of cows squeezed into industrial farms where they munch on corn meal laden with antibiotics. Except the cows are not as rushed as their human counterparts. Eating on the run, eating fast, that’s what mall food courts are about. It’s not like the ostensible aim is nutrition or pleasure, is it? Is there nutrition to be found in such an environment?

 

It’s rote eating. It is surely not “eating to eat.” Eating to eat is not efficient nor productive nor does it utilize time in a very profitable manner. Eating to eat means that you command the world to slow the hell down, that you have something important to do. That you will eat, mindfully. We don’t eat mindfully. We eat with one eye closed and on foot on the gas pedal and one hand holding the cell phone. Eating has become an obligatory and pesky gesture of survival. We die a little bit every day while we scurry back to our little table with a hot dog on a stick sitting on our bacteria-infested tray.

 

A person may reply in response, “but there is no time to eat later.” Well then, don’t eat. Skip the meal, eat when you can enjoy the food. When you can devote your full attention the food in front of you.