Enneagram Eating Two

Motherhood and Apple Pie

Let's get our politics out in the open. I am all in favor of motherhood and apple pie, regardless of what the latest fad in dieting is.

I realize this is a leftist position, but I fear the revolution is needed to restore both of these traditions.

First, motherhood. Motherhood has fallen on lean years and the reasons are sophisticated. Tradition affirms that mothers have as one of their duties and privileges to feed and civilize their children (and perhaps a husband). This labor of love gives them a certain authority: when someone says "dinner is served," we ignore that summons at our own peril.

But if dinner is not prepared but family members just microwave something out of a box, then mothers are diminished. And if Kraft, Kellogg and Monsanto are designing (which is a little different than preparing) the meal, then mother is no longer arbiter of taste, enforcer of manners and facilitator of conversation. She no longer hands on a culture, she no longer guides or monitors family conversation and her life and role shrinks. Instead, the corporations spend $32,000,000,000 a year advertising their boxes and tubes of food - like substances, with the best psychologists money can buy, instructing small children to eat what is good for Kraft, Kellogg, Monsanto and their ilk. No sane mother ever urged her child to eat cocoa puffs or frosted flakes. If the child chooses them it is because she was first chosen by The Industry as a target market. Mothering has been replaced by focus groups, copy writers, budgets,chemical patents and entertaining boxes.

A common American attack on motherhood happens when the husband loves burgers, daughter only has time to grab a pizza before choir practice; son insists he wants steak because he's trying to get stronger to make the football team. Mother may be trying to lose weight and is considering Salmon and asparagus.

And as for apple pie, it too suffers from neglect. First, it is difficult to eat in a car where 20% of food occasions happen. Food occasions are not really meals; meals evoke conversation, other humans, taste (both gustatory and social) and nourishment. Food eaten in a car is usually to real meals what remedial reading is to literature.

Being fiercely traditional, I insist that apple pie should be served still warm. But warm means proximity to the person who baked it. That would be someone who probably loves you and the pie is served with love. If the food has been assembled 2,000 miles away and shipped in a refrigerated truck and you eat it out of a box, something gets lost: love, personal involvement, a chance to be enthusiastically grateful (nobody ever says thank you to Sara Lee). Even praying over the food doesn't make as much sense if you bless the cook and you don't know who they are.

Then there is the matter of taste. You may be one of those who long for the aftertaste of oxylated diglicerides (read the box; it's there) but you are in a minority.

Will the pie make you fat? No. Not nearly as much as those oxylated diglicerides. Mother will only let you have one piece because others are clamoring and when you are in a family setting, you don't eat so unconsciously so you notice when you are full. Besides, mother will have insisted that you have eaten your veggies first.