So let’s talk about how eating healthy has become sort of a cult,
and how people who sometimes choose to eat an unhealthier choice are shamed and offered to the Gods of Healthy Carbs and Proteins as mere gifts.
No hate on healthy eating; maintaining a good relationship with food and having a balanced diet, exercising to keep your body fit and powerful is great, it’s good for you, we get it, it has a positive impact on your immune system and your mental health and it will save your life one day and bla bla blah. J’ai compris.
It is no new news to people who have been acquainted with me in the past, but to the people who are alien to this fact, I am judgy when it comes to food, and I discriminate based on flavor, texture and consistency. Although my culinary background may be slightly questionable, I couldn’t help but notice a lack of flavor in many dishes in France involving “Quinoa”, “Houmous”, Roasted chicken and vegetables that all end up tasting like the same meal with a different name. No matter how different the ingredients are, it always looks like a healthy mess sitting in a bowl. Nowadays you can’t say avocado without a millennial popping their head in to join the conversation. People get orgasms off Hummus and carrots here, as if all the flavor in the world has been captured in this healthy alternative of a snack. Mind you I am Lebanese, we love our Hummus, we made the biggest plate of Hummus man has ever created, people win awards for that, apparently, so I like it, but people here are going insane for it, they put it in salads as dressing, and sometimes add cumin to it to really give it that “Middle Eastern Vegetarian” vibe. Please, stop. Also stop putting quinoa and semoule in Tabbouleh for the love of God, when has parsley become not enough for the salad??
Back to the main topic, I can go on and on about my frustration with the food for hours, but let’s leave that mess for another post you can waste your time on.
One normal, BAU day in the office, I said I was going to eat McDonalds for lunch, not because I wanted something quick, or because I lacked the motivation to walk a longer distance to a carrot-friendly hub of meals the size of a 12 y/o’s palm, but because I wanted to.
“I’m going to get McDonalds, anyone want to come with?”
Gasps were heard throughout the department, people start ringing the bell of shame.
“McDonalds?! You want to put that in your body?” Screamed one of them
People couldn’t believe that some remote populations around the world still liked to go to McDonalds once in every blue moon, but I did, and I kept going.
I ate McDonalds last time and the feeling of guilt paraded around me like a mariachi band.
Today, I ordered the exact same thing I order every single time I go to McDonalds:
Small Hamburger, Medium fries with Sauce Pommes Frites on the side (it’s a french thing, don’t ask), and a small coke. I’ve never ordered anything else (besides my Happy meals, but I realized this reflected badly on my credibility as an “established, head screwed-on-firmly-on-her-shoulders type-of-adult” when I was questioned out loud about whether I wanted a girl toy or a boy toy). I was 21 at the time, and it was the last time I got a girl toy. Now I just realize that my order is basically an exact replica of the happy meal, without the toy, because toys are apparently looked down upon once you take that step into adulthood, where “being rational”, and “making sense” are common topics of interest.
Something about McDonalds triggered something in my memory on my way back home today, and it was the whole reason why I wanted to write this post in the first place, albeit the sentences did seem much shorter in my mind.
I got a takeaway order of my “adult-happy-meal-with-no-toy” and walked home, but I could not help but grab a fry, and then two, and then the whole thing really. I took one bite off my skinny burger and I swear something of a sensory nature awoke in my brain.
Suddenly I was seven, wore two tight pony tails on either side of my head, and white socks in sandals, the ones that had white laces at their tips.
“How is it” I though to myself,
“That my burger tastes exactly the same as it did when I was seven, in Lebanon”
It was too clear to me, the Saturday evening birthday parties, the smell of dried paint on my face, itching from the cracks the butterfly has made on my cheeks, because I’ve only ever wanted butterflies to be painted on my face.
I remembered the smell of the plastic toys I’d jumped over in the kids area, and hearing children my age scream as they ran after one another, their endless chatter eventually becoming white noise to me.
I remember going down a purple tube slide that always seemed too dark for me, so I always hesitated before sliding down through it. It always gave me little electric shocks when I slid down it, and my voice would always surprise me when I screamed inside, as the echo and purple surrounded me, it wrapped me into an infinite familiar.
Of all the things that have changed in my life, I am glad that McDonald never changed, because 5€50 is a bargain for a meal in which you can actually taste the past.
I’ve tasted simpler times, when life felt much smaller and could fit into the size of my palms. I sank my arm in my paper bag, grabbing one fry after the other, as if collecting memories and stuffing them into my mouth, keeping them inside and I though how ironic, that life seemed much less scary when I was 7.