Celery for Thanksgiving?

Enjoying food traditions such as Thanksgiving meals get us thinking about how food traditions change over time.
Did you know that 100 years ago, celery used to be considered a luxury food, reserved for special occasions? Originally an early winter vegetable, it was commonly used as a palate cleanser between courses at special meals, but now it’s considered a boring year-round diet food — certainly not something we’d proudly feature on our Thanksgiving table. This odd celery fact is an example of the trickle-down effect in celebration foods.

We want our celebration food to be different than our everyday food — more luxurious, more special. But the food industry seeks profit by turning celebration food into everyday fare, making all manner of previously rare foods accessible anytime. For example, you local sandwich shop probably offers salads with goat cheese — this was once something you’d only see at 4-star restaurants. And speaking of cheese, imports like brie used to be the province of out-of-the-way specialty stores, but now it’s available shrink-wrapped next to the cheddar. The same is true of paté. And a time-traveler from 1980 would be shocked to find sushi counters in grocery stores, right next to display cases full of ready-to-eat calzones, cheese-drenched pastas, cheese-stuffed chicken breasts, and your choice of fried or rotisserie chicken.

A time-traveler from 1980 would be shocked to find sushi in grocery stores Share on X

Looking further back in time, chicken was substantially more expensive than it is today, often reserved for Sunday or holidays. Sugar was an expensive luxury used only for special occasions. Refined white flour was difficult to produce, reserved for royalty and the wealthy. This is why only royalty and the wealthy suffered from obesity and gout. Those were considered diseases of the rich — common people couldn’t afford the causes of such suffering. In terms of food choice and access, we’ve come a long way, but we are paying for it in our health.

It's perfectly fine to eat celebration food on holidays — just not every day Share on X

It’s perfectly fine to eat celebration food on holidays — the problem comes when we eat celebration food every day. How do you make your celebration even more special than the embarrassment of culinary riches we can enjoy any day of the week? Is it any wonder the turducken became a thing?

See food in a new light

One of the many benefits of the iDiet is a virtual reset of our sense of what’s normal. Today’s super-sized servings and available-everywhere snacking provide far more calories than we need. iDiet helps retrain your brain with appropriate serving sizes, healthier options and better eating habits, yet our menus are carefully balanced to keep you feeling full and satisfied.

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