When food is no fun


It happened to me a lot over the years. It doesn’t matter if you are heading from Grand Central Station to the suburbs, if you are on the Acela going to DC, or on the New Jersey line.  Somebody carrying a bag or container with food sits right beside me, and starts eating.  I’m not talking about a cookie, a cup of coffee, a snack. People buy full meals at the station and bring them to feast on the train. They never ask for permission. It doesn’t matter if you are a sworn vegetarian and the smell of fried meat makes your stomach turn from the inside out. Or if you can’t stand the sight and odor of sweet and spicy gooey sauces that explode out of jumbo size sandwiches, bleeding artificial glues, spreading revolting smells, it doesn’t matter the flavor or color.


There are rules for a lot of things on trains: we can’t talk or listen to music too loud, we probably can’t bring our adorable pets (I didn’t check on this rule, just assuming). But why everyone is allowed to eat whatever you feel like in the cars? Years ago I was with a couple of friends on the train to New York, catching up and laughing. Laughing a lot. Happiness definitely disturbs people more than GMO food that looks like plastic and smells like garbage. There was a chorus of shushes and evil eyes towards us. The controller came from the back to remind us that we were sitting in a “silent car”. Does conversation really bothers people more than unpleasant and unwanted smells of food? If we can choose to sit in a silent car, why not creating a “snack car” ? So, the smells of pickles, General Tao’s chicken sweet sauces, chili con carne and melted cheese would be all contained in one place, preferably equipped with the a good air purifier.


Eat and Run

Some friends the visit New York are always amazed by how much people eat in the street here. We are always on the run. We pick up our mini buckets of coffee in the morning and off we go. We are always late, we need to squeeze everything in the little minutes left between the smart phone, the boss and the kids’ dentist appointment.  A lot of people also have the criminal habit of eating lunch at work, on their desk, in front of the computer. Then, we compensate it by buying glossy books from famous chefs, spending fortunes in fancy restaurants at night, forgetting that eating should be one of the simplest, healthiest habits. Don’t get me wrong. I love expensive restaurants with creative food. But we should also take proper time to appreciate and enjoy our little bowl of pasta with red sauce in peace, being thankful for the precious ingredients nature gives us.


My stomach always tightens when I hear my son telling me that he had to swallow his food quickly at school because there was not enough time to eat lunch. They have half hour to walk a long way to the cafeteria, get on the line, get food, sit and eat.  Fast-forward twenty years: this man will be probably eating his lunch still in a hurry, in front of a screen in the office. At least in twenty years we might have food with no smell.





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