Do You Live to Eat or Eat to Live???????

ann_tAugust 1, 2012

I'm definitely in the Live to Eat category. Flavour/taste is the most important. If something doesn't taste good or it isn't what I feel like eating I'd rather do without. This is one of the reasons I have always shopped on a daily basis.

I've known a number of people including my mother, who just ate to Live. One woman I knew was more concerned with the plate the food was served on than the food itself. Didn't matter to her what it tasted like as long as it was plated nicely and the plates were pretty. Needless to say, she couldn't cook. But she sure set a nice table.

So - Do you Live to Eat or do you Eat to Live?

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Hmmm both at times. :)

I know that's not the answer you want. Sometimes I'm hungry and don't feel like cooking a full meal, so those are eat to live times.

But I do enjoy cooking and love the taste of food. Nothing pleases me more than DH mmm'ing over his plate of food, because of the flavours it holds.

I am never one who would eat a sandwich at the counter, type of thing. I know a number of people who do that though.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 7:44PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I like to think there is a happy medium. Moderation in all things, that sort of life....

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 8:08PM
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jasdip - I don't think there's anything wrong with a "both at times" answer. That's definitely how I'd categorize myself.

Throughout the day I find myself nibbling on my kids' leftover breakfast. Perhaps a half eaten bagel, or some cereal left in a bowl (my daughter's, not my son's - she takes her milk on the side in a glass!) and that's all I'll eat all day. I'd consider that eat to live.

But while I'm doing that, I'm spending free seconds here and there thinking about what I'm going to make for dinner, checking out the internet and cookbooks, local sales, etc. for inspiration, and getting excited about what I might not necessarily have time to make tonight but what I hope to make in the near future. Sadly, often all that I end up putting out is one inspired meal the whole week, but boy do I enjoy that. That's live to eat.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 8:28PM
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I doubt there are many people who actually only eat to live visitng and participating in the Cooking forum!! That said I kind of do some of both!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 8:30PM
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Beez...for me there is no happy medium. It dawned on me many years ago that if I was going to consume calories that they might a well be the best out there. I've always kept that in my mind. I think it helped me to become a better cook.

The last few years, I've really gotten into the fresh and local food movement. I'm eating more fresh vegetables and fruits whenever I can get them. During peak season I can my own foods for the winter.

I buy the highest quality meats, poultry and fish that I can. I also do not shop sales on meats, for the simple reason that many grocery stores are known to market select grades when they have sales. They save choice for regular prices. It's getting harder and harder to find prime, nothing I can do about that. I want the best produce I can find and the freshest pantry items too. If the ingredients are stale then I'm not going to waste my time cooking with them.

Ann, I agree that flavor/taste is top priority. I consider myself a foodie and want to experience the best that I can.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 8:39PM
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Oh I definitely Live to Eat AND Eat to Live! Even though our eating habits have changed drastically, since heart disease, surgery and subsequent major heart attack shattered our culinary world :), I still put together fantastic meals that are full of flavor and are wonderful. Using no butter or cream, (sat fats are the enemy) was the biggest challenge.
I could not have accomplished this transition without being a Live to Eat meal planner and cook. Flavor and taste is still the most important aspect. If it tastes less than stellar - we do without.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 8:50PM
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Magothrivergirl. great Live to Eat example.

Bumblebeez, the question has nothing to do with moderation. I guess I didn't express my question well.

You can Live to Eat even if you occasionally crave a Big Mac or KFC or if you eat a sandwich standing at the counter, or eat a gourmet dinner sitting in front of the TV. Living to eat is all about eating food that tastes good to you and only wanting to eat food that tastes good. You don't even have to be interested in cooking. I know a few people that are "foodies", they live to eat but they don't enjoy cooking. But they really appreciate good food.

FOAS, I would definitely consider you a "foodie" that Loves to Eat.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 8:56PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I don't mean to imply that I am content with ordinary food- only that sometimes I put enormous effort into food, other times life gets in the way, I have other priorities and I have a lean cuisine for lunch. It's ok.
I do, however, put effort into cooking and having good food
most of the time.

Neither do I eat what I want all that often- I'd be a blimp but I have found healthy, delicious foods I usually have in the house. Lately as a snack, fresh salsa made with home grown vegetables, fruit and herbs.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 9:03PM
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This is an interesting, reflective question Ann. I know from your posts and your blog that you are a passionate and an accomplished cook. Thinking about your post, I feel lucky to have the luxury of enough food to be able to choose what to eat at this point in my life. Growing up, food was fuel - keep us alive until tomorrow. It didn't pay to be fussy. Fussy = hungry.

I'm still frugal. I don't think I live to eat. But when friends tell me they wished they enjoyed cooking as much as I do, my response is I cook because I like to eat.

Exposure to other cultures and cuisines through travel and my ongoing battle with breast cancer have shaped what I savor. My mantra is that of Warren Zevon before his death:

"Enjoy every sandwich"


    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 9:03PM
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I live to eat. Food is always on my brain, and I'll only eat food that tastes good. Bumblebeez, your post reminded me of this. I can eat three of those things and still be hungry!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 9:21PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

You have to get the dinner meals and have a yogurt for dessert!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 9:27PM
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Live to Eat at our house. And like Nancy, we are into fresh and local. I believe Eating to Live is what made me sick six years ago. Worked way too many hours, let my garden go, ate a lot of restaurant/fast/deli food.

DH has always been Eat to Live, but he went through some sort of metamorphosis after he broke his leg quite badly a few years ago. He's now into quality vs. quantity, has lost 80 lbs., and is becoming a darn good gardener/shopper/sous chef.

If something doesn't taste good or it isn't what I feel like eating I'd rather do without. This is one of the reasons I have always shopped on a daily basis. Ann, we're the same way. Many nights we're happy to 'graze'. I envy your ability to shop daily. We have a nice little grocery store in town, but it's an hour to fresh stuff. Which is why we grow what we can, when we can (a big mess of sauteed mustard greens and garlic scapes with grilled 4H lamb chops tonight...mmmmm....).

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 10:02PM
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Katie, I want to eat at your house.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 10:13PM
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I'm both, but in a different way. I love food and I'm always thinking about it but my priority is nutrition. I don't eat meat and I avoid dairy, eggs, flour and sugar as I believe those things are poison for the body.

I will admit that pasta and homemade desserts all taste good but I'd rather have the health and energy that really clean eating gives.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 11:01PM
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My very own personal understanding of this very interesting topic for a food forum.

First priority - All living beings, plant life included, must procreate efficiently, or else your kind will not be around too long. This imperative is built into our instincts and drives.

Second priority - To accomplish the first priority, you must eat, and each living matter struggles to be on top of the food chain, this is built into us as an urge. At the moment we are almost on the top of the food chain, except there are those tiny animals and plants that keep on making us humans their lunches. Further more each must eat properly in accordance to one's body system. All animals know exactly what to do when it comes to eating what kind of food and how much food, except humans. Our oversized brains sometimes give us the illusion that we are the exception and we do not have to obey Mother Nature. We invented deep fried bacon in butter covered with cheese, with a pint of ice cream to follow. We are seeing pervasive major problems today of the food related issues we have to deal with because of this illusion.

I eat to live, absolutely, I have great fear of what Mother Nature can do to me.

Nevertheless, I do attempt to use my creativity to make that eating task more enjoyable. Surprisingly, there are plenty of loopholes I an able to find to allow me to keep on chewing happily and keep on living energetically. Sharing these loopholes with others is fun.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 11:01PM
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I'm also a "live to eat" person, but I'm mindful of my health.

Like Nancy and KatieC, I eat fresh and local as much as possible. If I had to eat commercial beef, I'd give it up altogether, so I grow my own grassfed and organic. I've got a new batch of "girls" growing for eggs as I cannot tolerate those pale grocery store imposters. My garden is also organic and I can and freeze everything I can and store things like potatoes and onions in the cellar.

Of course, there are exceptions, as I haven't figured out how to grow coffee. I don't believe that anything is "off limits" as I have no serious health issues, but moderation is a necessity. "Live to Eat" doesn't mean overeating or eating junk food or living on convenience items and fast food, it means eating delicious food.

My goal is to eat good, honest and mostly healthy food that I enjoy and that is as sustainably produced as possible. I try to avoid things like GMO crops and CAFO meats, high sodium convenience foods, preservatives and things I can't pronounce and am happy to have the luxury of being picky now since my childhood was like Seagrass where being picky meant going hungry.

Since I grew up eating many things I didn't care for, I've been the "eat to live" route. Now I only eat things that I really want as I don't care to waste calories or cash on things that I don't particularly care about. Taste is paramount to me, and the company I'm with. Plating and atmosphere is much less a priority for me.

That's not to say that I don't sometimes eat to live. Last week I had McDonald's coffee every single morning since I drove right past one as I took Makayla to ballet camp in Grand Rapids each morning. Would I have rather had a nice leisurely cup of fresh and locally roasted coffee? Yes, of course, but life interferes sometimes and you have to eat to live.

By day two, of course, I'd found a small neighborhood bakery just a few blocks from the Grand Rapids Ballet which had outstanding freshly baked biscotti. Live to Eat, that biscotti made the coffee so much better! (grin)


    Bookmark   August 1, 2012 at 11:59PM
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I am much more interested in cooking than in eating.

Eating ranks somewhere around watching TV and shopping. Can be pretty fun for a little while, but gets old quickly.

Cooking is way up there with ________ [you name it].

Indeed, much of my enjoyment of eating involves wondering how to cook whatever it is. Which is why I mostly eat in ethnic restaurants; those are new cuisines that I might try to learn someday.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 12:30AM
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Giada DeLaurentis, when asked how she stays so skinny, said "cooking." She compared it to foreplay, and said by the time she's finished she's already done all the tasting and gotten it out of her system. I'm certainly not that way, but more power to her. Chi, I would gladly eat at your table. I don't know if I will ever give up pasta, but I certainly have felt better since I've let go of dairy and eggs.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 12:43AM
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LOL Jenny, I love that woman. Imagine a man said that? He'd never live it down!

I do understand the sentiment though, and it's not dissimilar to what John is saying. A good outcome is rewarding, but it's really the process that's more fun to me. I might spend hours, days or weeks thinking about what I want to make. That's fun to me. If I actually turn out a memorable meal that's just icing on the cake.

I think if you're always looking for something new to make, or continue to look at recipes for a dish that you already prepare to your satisfaction, look forward to sharing what you make - either by physically sharing or by talking about, posting about, taking pictures of your food - you are at some level doing more than simply eating to live.

I'd have to agree with Joann: "I doubt there are many people who actually only eat to live visiting and participating in the Cooking forum!!" And I wouldn't hesistate to change "many" to "any".

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 1:16AM
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What's the saying...never trust a skinny chef? Is that it? Lol.

Everything in moderation is what I live by. I live to eat. Can't imagine starving myself or eating garbage just because such and such a study says I'll live another two years by eating ____( insert miracle food here).

My older sister always had an eating problem. As a teenager, she would go on yoyo diets and starve herself. Today, she is still thin as a rail and barely eats (although she always says she's full after a few bites). I never wanted to be like her. I could stand to lose a few pounds, but I think I have a lot healthier approach to eating.

I like my food presented nicely, but not too fussily. You'll never see me with overly styled plates, just good home-cooking. I particularly appreciate looking at ann t's suppers because they are so actually want to EAT the food, not just stare at it.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 2:07AM
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More over the "live to eat" side of the line. Celebrating DH's birthday the other day, I took a substantial afternoon tea to my in-laws' home for us all to share before DH and I and his siblings went off to do something else.
My MIL commented that (she has never really enjoyed cooking, though a competent plain cook) she dislikes cooking so much now that she does the minimum needed, doesn't think about cooking, doesn't try anything new and dislikes the current TV obsession with cooking shows because it's a topic she never wants to think about.
I thought that was really sad and hope I never come to that point.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 12:13PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I dislike the entire either/or thing going on here.

Really, does everyone make organic lamb chops - or the equivalent- for every single meal?

Do you eat everything you want at every meal and never ever think about weight or health ( or even, gasp, economy)?

Do you never go to fast food restaurants?- I know you do from past posts.

Do you have a life outside of food - hey, that's ok if you don't!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 12:20PM
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Nope, I don't make organic lamb chops, I don't care for lamb although the health insurance company is now telling me it's a very healthy meat. I don't drink wine either, in spite of my doctor's assertion that ONE glass per night is good for my heart. I just can't learn to like the stuff, so I don't drink it.

Of course I think about health and weight, I don't eat a pound and a half of dark chocolate, I eat an ounce.

I eat a chili cheese dog at A&W at least twice a year, with a frosty mug of on-tap root beer.

And I do have a life outside of food, although since I'm a small farmer quite a lot of my entire life is consumed by the planting/growing of food, the harvesting of food, the marketing of food and the preparation and consumption of food.

Still, what I eat and the quality of it matters to me. I produce a good quality product although it's not perfect because without chemicals the fruits and vegetables are beautifully imperfect.

When I was a single mother with two children to feed and a full time job plus a second job on the side, I ate to live. I dreaded going home after one job to slap some tuna casserole on the table and pack up the girls to go to my part time night job keeping books. They did homework while I worked and then we all went home, fell into bed and started again the next day. Ashley still eats Cream of Mushroom soup right out of the can.

Now that I don't have to do that any more, I live to eat. I enjoy the planning, the growing, the preservation, the preparation as much as I do the consumption. That's why I've been on this Cooking Forum for a decade or so.

I don't think it is either/or, I think we are all a bit of both depending on what our life circumstances are at this point.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 12:32PM
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I think that, for me, live to eat means that food is one of my biggest joys in life, something that I am always thinking about. It doesn't mean I always get to eat what I want, or always be cooking when I want to. But I do remember a time in my life when I only ate food to survive, and that was a miserable existence.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 12:45PM
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I would have to say that I eat to live rather than live to eat. I consider eating a chore that has to be done every day, but since it has to be done, I try to make it as pleasurable as possible, but it still does not come anywhere close to the pleasure I would get from surfing or snorkeling or something else that I consider fun.

Right now I am eating my granola/yogurt/blueberries because I have to have something in my stomach to take my antibiotic pill and vitamins. I do like what I am eating, but I feel no passion about it. I think about cooking a lot because I try to have meals that I will not find boring. Since I have to eat, I want to eat the best that I can, but I am not passionate about eating. I'm more passionate about cooking than eating, I think

I have to say that I find it really annoying when I see TV chefs sample what they have just made and then have their eyes roll back in their head. That does not happen to me when eating, no matter how much I like what I am eating.

There are foods and food combinations that I detest, and I have to be wary to avoid these. I've had my share of eating experiences that were not pleasant at all, but on an average, eating is more pleasant than not - it's just not a raison d'etre for me.

I do not go to fast food restaurants - I go home at lunch and make whatever I want, sometimes from leftovers or from something I have made specifically for a lunch. I very seldom go to restaurants at all, and I think that someone who lives to eat would go to restaurants more than I do, especially considering the choices that I have. I am trying to be economical by not going to restaurants, but that thought goes out the window when I am shopping at a market.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 12:46PM
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Bumblebeez, why do you sound angry or defensive?

Living to Eat has nothing to do with cooking organic lamb chops or not thinking about weight or health. It has nothing to do with whether you eat fast food or how much money you have.

It has to do with whether eating is something you enjoy or whether you just eat because you have to if you want to live. You don't even have to love cooking to enjoy eating.

Thankfully I not only love cooking but I also enjoy the planning and the shopping for ingredients and I enjoy all kinds of different foods. And yes even fast food. Occasionally I want a fast food burger or fish and chips or some other take out. Hell I even enjoy a smear of the dreaded cheese whiz on toast.

But the point is, I care about what I am because of flavour and regardless of what it is, it has to be something I want and enjoy the taste of. I just don't eat because I'm hungry. I want whatever I eat to be something I actually want to eat.

There is no right or wrong answer. The question wasn't meant to get you or anyone else upset.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 12:56PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Lars, I so appreciate your post and could have written most of it.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 12:56PM
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And I'm sorry if I offended you Bumblebeez, I have a terrible habit of doing that. There's nothing wrong with Lean Cuisines, I just thought it was a funny meme.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 1:06PM
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I had to give this one a lot of thought actually!

For sure I have to like what I eat or I simply would not eat it but I can't say I live to eat either. Most of our meals are simple meals that go together quickly.I only cook what appeals to me.

I love to cook and love to entertain but for the most part the eating is secondary for me. As a matter of fact I have a bit of a reputation for not eating what I cook. Oft times I am so done with what I've cooked that it has lost it's appeal by the time dinner rolls around.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 1:10PM
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I'm another live to eat, with a bit of eat to live. I break mine up by meals - Breakfast is 'live to eat' - a gawdawful whole wheat english muffin from TJs (don't ask) - but I am treated well with the killer lattes from DH, grin. Lunch is usually leftovers or TJs prepackaged salads/meals - but dinners, six nights a week, are delicious, live to eat, from scratch. We do eat out quite a bit, because we have access to all sorts of wonderful non-chain options. Our current fav is Drago Centro in downtown LA. I could live there!

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 1:39PM
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Would that I could buy organic lamb chops!!
When I had someone to cook for, we ate like a 5 star restaurant every evening. Breakfast was not like you see Ann cook for Moe, but most often a piece of toast from last night's home made loaf.

The only fast food would be the 3 or so times a year when I drive to Chicago and stop at the Oasis so I don't have to leave my dog in the car for long.....oh yes and the State Fair...but the fast food I choose to eat there is lamb burgers near the sheep barn or a pork chop provided by the pork producers, hot off the grill and eaten in a napkin....or icecream from the Dairy Association booth.

I never have eaten prepared frozen entrees, and I can spot a bakery cake or cookies a mile away....eww!

Pretty well I live to eat....if there is a time when I NEED to eat and have no time to prepare, I grab a piece of cheese or a hard boiled egg and a couple of raw carrots.
Weight, health are always considerations, and so is actually costs a lot less to eat well than to eat junk.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 1:41PM
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Now I do both - live to eat because like Ann, even if I am hungry I can't just eat anything. I will wait until I can eat something tasty.

Eat to live because I am mindful of what I put in my body and I try to eat nutrient-dense food. So I will eat my colorful veggies, sulfurous veggies, cruciferous veggies, colorful berries, high-quality meats and fish, in season fruits, etc.

I think "live to eat" can be extended to how I try to live my life in general - live life to the fullest.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 3:31PM
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I'm very similar to Lars.

I enjoy preparing the meal considerably more than eating. I'm known for preparing holiday meals & then not eating. I'm sick of looking at the food by the time it hits the table. Cooking isn't even in my Top 10 list of fun things to do. Baking would make the list but not a top spot.

Now, with Sjogren's, eating has become a nuisance & a hazard. So, based on that, guess I'm in the "Eat to Live" category. But, I do want whatever I eat to taste good & be reasonably healthy. Every meal doesn't have to be 100% health conscious but averaged out over the week I try hard to keep the scales tipped in favor of good nutrition.

Yes, I sometimes eat Lean Cuisine especially when I'm alone because I just don't care & I have to eat something. One Lean Cuisine, by itself, is more than enough for me. Happens, maybe, six times a year.

We don't eat fast food unless desperate & it's usually DH that gets that desperate - usually when we're on a road trip of some type. The last fast food I ate was a Wendy's and it grossed me out. Wasn't even Wendy's fault. We were eating in our car. Summer & had the windows down. A sparrow flew in my window & landed RIGHT ON MY BURGER & started pecking. DH started laughing too hard to help. I shooed him away but he just moved to the dashboard with a piece of my burger in his beak. Did I ever mention that I'm scared of birds?

We eat out at local restaurants several times/month. Like tonight, I'm unsure WFD - DH is mowing, edging, weeding, tying up the tomatoes, & sanding our double glider getting it ready to paint. I'm thinking he's not going to feel like cooking by the time he comes inside, showers, & does his piano practice. Around here, all of those activities have priority over cooking. Yep, we Eat to Live.

I've gotten many meal ideas here on the forum that I've been able to incorporate into our food storage program. But, because we do eat from that food storage program our cooking is a bit different. I would HATE grocery shopping every day - or even every week. Like the thread talking about freezing milk - hard for me to relate to. We don't drink a glass of milk. We use milk in cooking. So, 99% of the milk we use is organic powdered. My milk doesn't go bad & is always there when I want/need it (a year's worth).

With rare exception, our meals are planned around that storage program as opposed to a craving or whim. Tuesday was an exception. DH went fishing off Montauk so we had summer flounder (fluke) for dinner on a bed of fresh, homemade salsa made with our garden ingredients.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 3:58PM
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I'd classify myself as an Overacheiving Eat-to-Live-er. Although I enjoy cooking and eating tremendously, there are many activities I like even more. The past two weeks, I haven't been living to eat; I've been living to help sort and price 70,000 used books for our library's annual book sale. My only thought of food is to remember to eat some to have the energy to do a task I love.

Since we've retired, it seems as if there are so many fun things to do besides eating.

I am an ingredient-driven cook. First I find some good ingredients and then I decide how best to showcase them. It's complicated because DH lost 95% of his sense of smell (and therefore most of his sense of taste) as a result of an illness about a dozen years ago. So I try to make a complementary mix of colors and textures on the plate to keep up his interest in what for most people would be an eat-to-live situation.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 4:02PM
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WOW !!!!! talk about opening a can of worms....OMG!!!!!
I was going to avoid this one like the plague, but a
couple of posts piqued my interest.
First of all, I have to disagree with Dcarch. The number
one instict of ALL creatures on this earth is SURVIVAL.
Next comes procreation, in that order. After all, if you
can't survive, you won't be able to procreat.
I mulled the original question for quite a while, and
it seems to me, that everyone has danced around the real
answer. The real answer is: "It depends on how hungry
you are".
For example: yesterday's dinner might have been yucky,
so it got put into the fridge. If you had nothing to eat
in the next three days, then those leftovers would be
the most delicious food you have ever tasted.
None of us would eat if we didn't HAVE to, I know I
wouldn't. Think of how rich we would all be if we
didn't have to buy food. So, as long as we HAVE to
eat, why not make it as tastey as we can.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 4:49PM
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There's no "real answer" - everyone has given answers based on their interpretation of the question, which itself invited interpretation, inspiration and nuance.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 5:47PM
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I'm an "live to eat" person. I'm with those who don't want to eat anything unless it really tastes good -- to me. I want to enjoy what I eat and not consider it a chore. As a result, if I buy a product or fix a recipe and discover I don't care for it, I toss it. I don't want to waste time or more money trying to gussy it up into something I can manage to get down my gullet.

I agree with Ann that the idea of live to eat doesn't have anything to do with organic foods, sustainable foods, health issues, fast food, etc. It has to do with enjoyment of what you're eating. There are times when I must eat to live -- times when I'm pooped beyond belief and must come up with something to eat before I faint. But even then, I usually munch on something I normally enjoy: scoops of unsalted natural peanut butter, chunks of cheese, toasted almonds, etc.

In the last seven years, since my husband's been on a medically required salt restricted diet, I've fixed my share of duds. Some old time favorites simply do not make a good transition to no-salt-added cuisine. So I create new favorites. For my husband, it's an eat-to-live approach for cooking but a live-to-eat approach for making sure the cooked food is flavorful and interesting. If it isn't, then he will not eat-to-live the boring stuff set before him. He'll somehow manage to get super salty foods to satisfy his cravings and risk his health.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 8:30PM
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DH and I live to eat. Since we live in the San Francisco Bay Area, there's a whole lot of eating going on around the region, every waking minute!

I enjoy cooking but not particularly as a duty; e.g., routine lunch/dinner every single day. We're not price-sensitive so what I buy is what we like - meaning, a specific brand or food we enjoy. DH loves blueberries, for example, so I buy 2 or 3 baskets every week for him; it's his afternoon snack or dessert.

Since I don't enjoy shopping, I keep it down to 2-3x/wk, at specific stores that carry what I require. My MIL lives with us but she doesn't eat much, so I have to keep an eye on her overall nutrition.

I keep most of my cooking in the high-fiber, low salt, low carb profile due to dietary concerns. Not always; we don't believe in being extreme about anything.

We go out 2-4x/week. Always at least one dinner, and we'll alternate a late breakfast with an early lunch, since we eat twice a day. I'd rather eat than cook, for the most part. DH indulges me in this hobby; his preference is to eat my home cooking.

I like to eat out - I'd do it twice as often if I could - because there are many dishes that I will not make not make at home. I could do them - I've been cooking for fifty years and have always been a foodie - but I don't want to. It's easier to go out when I want foie gras or sweetbreads or even lobster. No mess, no shopping, no fuss, no prep, AND NO DISHES TO WASH AFTERWARDS, lol.

As we're retired, we travel around the area on midweek, multi-day trips, usually 5 or 6x a year. During those trips we pick interesting restaurants to try. Our favorite cuisine is French, but locally we have our favorites: Ethiopian, Vietnamese, Chinese Contemporary (Chinese food going bistro instead of the greasy spoon dives), Japanese, Afghani/Himalayan, Moroccan, etc.

Fast food? Occasionally, not often. One of the worst things I can say when I write up my reviews on the restaurants we've been to (I like to keep a full record of where we've eaten and what we had), is "McDonald's makes a better breakfast and McCafe coffee than XXXX did!"

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 1:32AM
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Definitely a Live to Eat person who is putting into practice using healthy and nutritious ingredients in everything I make. There was a time when I did eat anything I wanted, but fortunately my life has come back into balance overall and I am much more careful about not overindulging in things that should be enjoyed in moderation.

I do like my food to be colorful and attractive but like Donna.In.Sask said:

"I particularly appreciate looking at Ann T's suppers because they are so actually want to EAT the food, not just stare at it. "


    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 8:17AM
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Quick question: 'If you eat to live, what happens when
you are served something that is To Die For ???

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 2:02PM
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"I have to disagree with Dcarch. -----The number one instinct of ALL creatures on this earth is SURVIVAL. Next comes procreation,"

No, you are not disagreeing with me. I am talking about priorities, not which instinct is stronger. Procreation is the evolution processes each species struggles to make itself less appetizing to the others, and cleverer than the others. But that is off topic.

I brought that up to lead into my own reasoning that eating to live is a very important consideration for humans, if you don't do it sensibly; you become lunch to other species.

I know of no one who does not eat to live and live to eat.

There is no choice to the first imperative "eat to live", while the second is optional and I do believe that every single one of us tries to do the best we can.

How much you can engage in the practice of "live to eat" is basically governed by these three factors:

1. Health conditions
2. Life style and time constrains.
3. Wealth

If you are in good shape with #1, #2 and especially #3, you can perhaps engage in the following with some regularity:


    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 4:58PM
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LOL Poddy!

I think it is just an amusing turn of phrase, not meant to be taken literally. I have had lots of meals that were "TDF" in my opinion.... but I'm glad I'm still here to talk about them.


    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 6:10PM
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>>Quick question: 'If you eat to live, what happens when
you are served something that is To Die For ??? >>

You order a second plate of it...LOL!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 11:43PM
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OMG !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Caliloo, do I know you?
How did you know my nickname????
And thank you for educating me on that term.
Now I can go back and try all those recipies
that were labeled: "To Die For".

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 12:59PM
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Dcarch, my opologies you are accepting? I guess I
misinterpreted your term 'priorities' and the term
'instincts'. I know that priorities are choices
that we make on our own, and 'instincts' are,
what they call in the computer world "firmware".
Sorry bout that.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 1:08PM
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Whew, I've finally had time and energy to read through this thread. I love it. Of course we all eat to live - if we didn't, we'd die of starvation. It happens in famines.

That aside, I tend to lean towards the live to eat mentality. One time my brother was visiting, and I fixed a big breakfast for us all. He protested that I went to so much trouble, but Jerry pointed out to him that it's my hobby. He's right. Cooking and eating is a hobby of mine.

I completely understand how people can not feel like eating once they've fixed a big meal. I have felt that way at times. I've also felt like digging in, too. When John fixed such a wonderful dinner for us when we visited Portland, he demonstrated how much he loves to cook, the whole process, but no, he didn't eat nearly as much as the rest of us did. Jerry and I had a wonderful "foodie" week in Portland, eating and tasting so much that we don't normally get to eat or taste, both restaurant and home made. It was so much fun. It was certainly a live to eat week, but also a live to visit with family I love and miss, and live to visit places I've never seen.

Yes, I live to eat, but that's not the only hobby I have, and I don't think it has to be for those of us that live to eat. I don't have a big income, and I don't have money to burn. I buy my clothes at the thrift store, when the ones I have are literally falling apart, and I don't eat out normally, rarely, yes, but not often. I don't buy books or movies - I get them from the library. What I'm saying is that I have made food one of the only things I'm willing to spend money on. (pets, gardening and our place in Oklahoma the other money pits.)

I have a friend that's definitely eat to live. She's said as much. She actually does not enjoy food at all. She only eats because she has to to stay alive. I cannot fathom that. On the other hand, I just finished reading Judith Jones' memoir, My Life In Food. She was definitely a live to eat person. She loves to cook and loves to eat, and is willing to try anything. (Jones is the woman that edited Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and numerous other cook books and non cook books.)

I'm lucky in that I happen to like what's healthy, for the most part, although I do love cheese. So, I eat what I want, most of the time. However, there are times that I just eat what's on hand, because of time constraints. I don't let it bother me. I know I'll have a good bite to eat soon enough.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 9:24AM
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lbpod, no apology required. But I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Your post did bring up some very relevant topics which fascinate me. The survival instinct in "eating to survive (live)".

I often feel that our ability to "live to eat" is counter survival. We are miserable because we know how to modify food. Physiological maladies caused by improper food intake is rampant. We have completely destroyed our instinct to eat food that is healthy to our bodies, the instinct that is in all animals.

I don't remember many cooking shows which do not demonstration recipes with 2 sticks of butter, half cups of cream, sugar, salt, -------------.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 11:34AM
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"I don't remember many cooking shows which do not demonstration recipes with 2 sticks of butter, half cups of cream, sugar, salt, -------------. "

Not sure what cooking shows you watch but I find your statement untrue. Do you watch any cooking shows? Paula Dean maybe?


    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 2:35PM
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"We are miserable because we know how to modify food."

I've got to absorb that for a but. But I do wonder how your buddy Nathan Myhrvold would respond to that.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 2:56PM
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"We are miserable because we know how to modify food."

I also find this quote interesting coming from you since I have never seen anyone modify food quite like you do.....


    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 3:21PM
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Nancy, I mostly watch Jacques Pippin and Julia, Lydia and a couple of other lesser known ones. Just yesterday Jacques and Juila were making three things, I am not sure exactly what because I normally have my TV on when I am working and not paying much attention. One was a salmon mix inside a loaf of bread. There was a stick of butter on the bottom and than another stick of butter on top, and the salmon was some kind of mix with half mayonnaise. The other was some kind of French sandwich, more butter, I mean a lot of butter, and the third one was a desert with basically all cream and sugar.

FOAS, as a scientist, I think Nathan Myhrvold will agree that we humans have lost our natural ability to do the best for our bodies in our eating habits, as evidences are mounting everywhere. Sounds like you disagree.

Alexa, I am just as culpable as many in the pursue of gastronomic gratification. I am, guilty of enjoying food that has been "deliciously" prepared, and many foods of so called "acquired taste".
I moderate my "crime against nature" by distinguishing the two kinds of food modification:

1. Modifying food by pairing food based on natural taste, geometry, texture and color, simple seasoning, and natural ingredients.

2. Modifying food using overwhelming seasoning and spices, complicated recipes, unnatural ingredients, ingredients known to have adverse health effects, etc.

I try to compensate by preparing food mostly based on the #1 approach. Realizing also that judicious arrangement of ingredients on a plate actually can enhance the appear of food without altering the nature of food, (extreme example would be in the making of sushi,) I do make sure that a reasonable attempt is applied in making food attractive, every single dish.

So far so good.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 7:13PM
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I didn't state one way or another. I just posed the question, wondering what someone who likes to modify food would think of your statement.

Of course "modifying food" in and of itself is a subjective term. Some would think that warming bones, spinning them in a centrifuge and spraying with chemicals is natural. Others would not.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 7:25PM
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I'm confused. Your two kinds of modification - couple of questions.

1.) Regarding #1, how does "geometry" contribute to taste and/or health of food?

2.) Regarding #2, would you consider a Mexican mole sauce to use "overwhelming seasoning & spices" and be a "complicated" recipe?

Personally, I don't consider mole to be complicated - tedious, yes, but not complicated. There are a considerable number of seasonings, spices, nuts, etc. but all are natural foods. What about it would make it less healthy?

Your two examples seem overly simplistic, to me. Your #2 example would seem to include everything from mole to cream of chicken soup.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 7:37PM
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Just remembered, you can find videos on youtube about this.

Monkeys in Japan have learned that they can take potatoes to the sea side and dig in the water to make them taste better.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 7:37PM
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Forget food, I've found a new reason for living- it's called DRAMA.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 7:56PM
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No big speeches about Mother Nature here ... This question just isn't that complicated. I live to eat. Period.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 8:06PM
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Regarding the Julia and Jacques segment you remember watching. the PBS site has a searchable data base and I find nothing even remotely resembling what you are describing.

Could you possibly find it on the site linked?

Also macaques dipping the sweet potatoes in the sea is considered an example of primate learning rather than "a recipe". Many many species modify their food in some manner, from the otters who float on their back and smash a clam on a rock to the apes who peel the banana, the raccoons who dip their food in the water and the grackles who do a similar thing.
You are assuming the monkeys are "salting" their food when there is no indication of that. The original experiment indicated that they discovered an easy way to wash the sand from their food. The fact that macaques like the salt on their potatoes is pure conjecture.

Here is a link that might be useful: Jacques and Julia

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 8:09PM
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Posted by unorthodoxepicure (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 5, 12 at 20:06

No big speeches about Mother Nature here ... This question just isn't that complicated. I live to eat. Period.

Thank you Adam. You are exactly right. It really wasn't a complicated question.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 8:39PM
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I think I tried too hard in the beginning to be simple to make my thoughts clear. Let me see if I can clarify what I am trying to say and how it is related to the topic of this thread:

Animals are known to have some abilities to eat different food to alleviate some physical maladies (eat to live). By our advance ability to modify our foods (live to eat), we may have lost this ability in us. While not all great delicious recipes are bad for our health, not having the instinctual ability to distinguish good or bad food intake perhaps could be the reason that has resulted a great deal of food related problems in us. Just my uneducated guess.

Tricia, Regarding #1, by geometry, I mean the shapes and colors of foods, whether it's obvious or hidden, by taking advantage of them (plating, food design) it can make food more appealing. No, plating has nothing to do with health, I have not said it has.

Regarding #2, Mexican mole is a very complicated recipe, but seemingly a very healthy recipe. Complicated or simple recipes, a great recipe's purpose is to convince you to eat the food whether it's good for you or not. We have many great recipes which are good for your health and many are very bad.

LindaC, "You are assuming the monkeys are "salting" their food when there is no indication of that. ----- The fact that macaques like the salt on their potatoes is pure conjecture."

Not according to me. See video link below.

Sorry I am not going to find the Jacques/Julia video because as I said I was not paying that much attention while the video was playing in the background. Unless you really don't think that Jacques and Julia use a lot of cream, butter, sugar, fat, -------. Unless you don't think that today we are facing food related health crisis.

Tricia, here is an example of a dish that I made with an attempt to take advantage of food's natural geometry and color.

I had some celery of below par quality that I need to use up. Basically to make the fiber less chewy, I sliced the celery at a sharp angle to make the fibers shorter. Celery is not one of the most nutritious vegetables, so I cook it in a pan which I just finished cooking some beets.


Here is a link that might be useful: Monkey Sea Monkey Do

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 9:15PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I'm not keeping up up with this- lost me around monkeys, but thanks DC for taking the attention off of me! Sorry, I couldn't resist. I think your creations are breathtaking and so creative.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 9:36PM
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Thanks BBz.

I find it funny that those monkeys deliberately enhance the flavor of potatoes by putting more salt on them then their bodies call for. Live to eat!

I also find it funny that they use "Modernist" scientific method to separate sand from the grains in the same video.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 7:24AM
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My head is spinning. Way to much information at one time. Simply, I live to eat...I did go through a period of time where I would eat just to survive. That wasn't much fun! Now, I'm just mindful of what I put in my mouth.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 8:06PM
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Live to eat, but wish I was eat to live.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 9:54AM
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Personally, I think Wizardmn hit the nail on the head.
'Two sticks of butter'.....Dcarch HAD to be watching
Paula Dean. Mystery solved, ahem.........

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 2:41PM
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Or Barefoot Contessa, or Pioneer Woman, or any of the many cupcake shows they have playing all the time now...

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 9:28PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Yes, I think they both are just as bad as Paula, only classier.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 9:33PM
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Cupcake Shows. . . I LOVE that term, and had never
heard it before, but it fits so perfectly,
although I had heard about a show called something
like: "Cupcake Wars", or something like that.
Contestants try to outdo each other, making the
best cupcakes.
I don't care much for Barefoot Contessa, or Pioneer
Woman, but Paula just sends shivers up my spine.
I don't know what it is about her. I love her hair
and her eyes. She is just so 'secksy', (to 'this
old man'). But she makes me want to puke with her CONSTANT "ya'lls". I mean 'every other word'!!!!
Does anyone think that maybe she is told to do that?
Anywhooo, if I had a portrait of Paula Dean, it would
be up on my bedroom wall, (pant, pant).
Forgive me for getting off topic.
And now . . . back to our regularly scheduled

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 12:58PM
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Not just yet... I had a dream about Paula Dean once. She was just raging at her staff. I'll never look at her the same after seeing her that way. And the cupcake shows, along with constant replays of Diners, Drive-Ins and Drives, are what made me give up on Food Network. But anyways...

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 2:28PM
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elery is from Tennessee and says that accent is faked. I'm sure it's part of her on-screeen "persona". The thing that drives me nuts about Paula Deen, though, is the way she's always licking her male guests, drives me crazy.

I'll bet lbpod loves it though. (grin)

Right now I'm baking a vanilla bundt cake for Elery's granddaughter's birthday, it has 6 eggs and a cup and a half of butter. I've got honey wheat bread in the oven, it's only 64F today!! Hurrah! Home grown chicken marinating in homemade yogurt with garlic/onion/lemon/ garam masala.

Definitely a live to eat day!


    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 2:35PM
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Things really changed over the years and the proverbial pendulum swung back and forth more than once.

As a kid, live to eat.
Got on my own and cook for myself, eat to live.
Got sick of McBurger and aluminum slotted freezer to oven trays, started cooking and learning to cook better stuff, then progressed more and more to live to eat.
Job required living out of fleabag motels and away from home for weeks at a time - eat to live.
Quit the job and had to live more frugally, live to eat.
Physical issues... eat to live with occasion bits of live to eat.

I still enjoy good food, even eating out and try to get something enjoyable. I guess these days I appreciate decent to good food more than I have in the past.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2012 at 3:24AM
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