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By Adele Wong | April 11th, 2016

Some people eat for sustenance. Some people live to eat. Some people eat what they preach. Most people fall somewhere along this spectrum.

For those who consume merely to survive, food can be viewed as a mandatory task, a thing to check off the list, a powdered solution that holds you down until the next meal. I respect this clinical, objective approach to food.

For those whose raison d’etre is to taste and savor every edible molecule, food is a a gift from the heavens, to be respected and enjoyed. Almost nothing is too exotic as long as it can be put into their mouths and digested. Everything is worth exploring. I love this passionate and dedicated approach to food.

For those who adhere to a specific regimen for religious, ethical, health or personal reasons, food is not to be taken for granted. Food is a matter of discipline, of self-control, and it’s something that complements one’s lifestyle rather than the other way around. I admire this practiced and willful approach to food.

And then sometimes, some people — like myself — just let emotions guide our appetites, and it’s the wild, wild west.

We rip open a chocolate bar before realizing that it’s our body’s way of saying we’re stressed the hell out. We crave rice because we miss the taste of home. We skip meals — or down a tub of ice cream — when we’re depressed. We eat at fancy hipster restaurants when we’re happy. We devour 15 packs of Japanese grilled seaweed when we’re scared (don’t ask), or three glasses of champagne when we’re feeling invincible. I am terrified by this unstructured, unhinged approach to food. 

For us tempestuously emotional eaters, the way to our stomachs is through our hearts. When we can decipher our hunger pangs, we can also solve the mystery of our buried feelings. But god help us if we fail to understand our inexplicable yearning for baked yam chips or raindrop cake. I’ll eat my heart out for a cure.

A mouthy soliloquy by Adele Wong. See more Food for Thought columns here.