Now, I'm not one for "social commentary". Well, yes I am but not in public. I've ideas and attitudes which some might regard as incredibly old fashioned and others regard "dangerously" modern. There are, however, some things that I have "feelings" about which are in the public domain.
There seems to be a rise in restaurants offering "challenge" dishes or meals. In the US, and now in the UK, many restaurants are offering a challenge - you pay but if you "succeed", you get your money back.
Now, don't get me wrong - the food looks delicious but either by a combination of portion size or spice (imagine so much chilli that the tongue burns and the stomach ulcerates), the general public are encouraged to overindulge.
Those that "win", get a free meal and a photo on a Hall of Fame. Those that loses, pays. But why?
Why force yourself to gorge on a steak the size of a standard office desktop? Why eat a chilli which contains enough spice that, combined with stomach acid, will actually corrode your stomach lining? It's like a hamster eating a coconut - theoretically possible but why when it's damaging to your health?
This, I think, is the key - damaging to your health.
What if the rise of "Food Challenges" is a subconscious reaction to recent "Food Restrictions"? This is something felt hard here in the UK and is spreading; the idea that modern diet science pinpoints foods which can be, in the long term, harmful. How harmful or what counts as "long term" is variable. The "science" can also be questioned, depending on who pays for the research and statistics.
There are some things which are blatantly obvious - eat low fat, avoid processed foods and eat more fruit and vegetables. But our world is driven by the media and it depends on who submits the research and depends on who, actually, understands what is being said. Thus, one side (corporation) wants to sell a food; another wants to stop this food being eaten. Both can give scientific and statistical reasons not to consume it.
What if ... ?
What if retail outlets are presenting food challenges which are happily taken up by the public are blatantly harmful? Forget the food Standards Agency - it's all safe for consumption. But the size of portion, the amount? The already mocked Government might tell us "what is safe" but we are, allegedly, given free will. If a firm is allowed to sell crap to eat, we have the freedom to eat it - while we are informed in our choice.
What if ... ?
The rise of "Food Challenges" is an unintended response to the "Food Enforcers" who tell us you're not allowed to eat this much, you shouldn't eat so-and-so.
"We know we shouldn't eat a pizza the size of a table but, since you've told us we can't, we will!"
I love my food and, watching "Man Versus Food" on TV, I'm in two minds - a bit of me is thinking "that looks bloody delicious" while another is thinking "why make it that big?"
Everyone wants to live. Maybe not longer - after all, booze and tobacco sales rely on the consumer being aware yet uncaring; that's the "point" of being addicted. But sales being made purely on excess is the most scary thing. Anything to make money ... even on some one's weakness.