A friend of mine recently started her new job as a marketing manager at a popular burger chain in the city. She called me out for a media lunch last week.
“Coming?” she texted. No details about the occasion. “Sign me up,” I replied. Because meat. When I got there, I learned that there was a guest chef promoting a one-off cheese-slathered pork belly burger. I went all in — or as far as I could humanly handle without frothing from overconsumption.
There was another journalist friend at our table who was training for a half-marathon in the coming weeks. Healthy journalist friend was on a healthy diet and the thought of a cheese-slathered pork belly burger was just appalling to her. “I’m only doing this because of you,” she told my marketing manager buddy. “Yeah, same here,” I lied.
The conversation somehow turned to annual physical check-ups. “I got mine done earlier this year, and the docs say I’m alright,” I boasted to the two. “Although they did warn that I’m borderline pre-diabetic” — my glycated hemoglobin levels straddled the fence — “and I have high cholesterol of the unhealthy kind. It’s all because of my job, haha!” I cracked up.
I went home that night questioning my life choices. I could still recall my halcyon pre-food-writing days, many moons ago, when I was practically a vegetarian and could survive for weeks on tofu, broccoli and potatoes alone. For me, “good food” (read: anything fatty, charred, or borderline illegal) was literally an acquired taste, something I dutifully — albeit happily — picked up for the sake of my job.
But somewhere along the way, I had lost that internal gauge that told me when I was enjoying my food, and when I was enjoying my food at the cost of my health. I had effectively turned into a good food addict, and there was little hope of turning back. For the remainder of the night, I clung desperately onto a few wistful pre-foie-gras-crème-brûlée memories.
And then I went to a 10-course tasting the next day.