A Sacrament Too Ridiculous to Be Obscene

The holiday season. Food. Food. Food. A turkey on the November cover of every magazine. Stories about Christmas in -- you name it -- all of them food-themed. Cooking is the national pastime. No, eating is. Or thinking about cooking and eating. Food on TV. Every corner of the globe explored. Every corner of America -- every diner, every shack, every greasy-spoon -- explored. And chefs, oh, the chefs. Every dish more refined, more contrived than the rest. Every presentation as if we were dining at the home of a rich old family. As if we had servants. As if we had chefs. Words that have become coin of the realm. Foodie. Artisanal. Craft. Heirloom. Hurtling along, the restaurant (if they can be called that, some challenge that) chains. American towns ringed by a perimeter of the same restaurants from the same chains with the same menus. The Howard Johnson phenom on steroids. Their commercials on TV showing beauty shots of food so artificially gussied up and varnished that to someone who has actually been to a food shoot it seems totally inedible. As it is. But by now generations have eaten it, lived in those restaurants, feel comfortable in them. They are embedded in the culture as are the fast-food joints. Some of the latter, coming to terms with the Foodie Revolution, specialize in what's "natural." Most are Mexican-derived, go figure. The Hispanization of American culture that figures like Henry Cisneros talked about has come to pass in the perimeter of American towns, in fast-food "natural" burrito chains. And others shun the fast. The Slow Food Movement -- hey, wasn't that, like, Crock Pots? The provenance phenomenon, famously parodied in Portlandia. What prep school did your heirloom turkey attend? Eat. Eat. Eat. Eat fast. Eat slow. Eat too much. Eat what's on your diet. Eat what's good for you. Eat what will kill you. Eat me.

There must be some way out of here.