Sunday, November 18, 2012
The word "diet" is derived from the Greek word "diaita" meaning "manner of living". It doesn't mean food, but since most cultures define themselves by how they eat, the word has come to mean food. Every tribe or nation has a type of food that defines them, mostly indicating availability of sustenance, and we call it their "diet", whether it be primarily fish or buffalo or rice.
Somewhere along the line the word was perverted to mean "weight loss diet", which in turn translated into "deprivation". We are "dieting" (verb), or "on a diet" (noun). I doubt that was what the ancient Greeks had in mind.
I remember a story in Time Magazine (I think) that showed a family from each of several countries, surrounded by the food they consumed in a year. An Asian family was surrounded by bags of rice, piles of vegetables and dried fish. A Hispanic family was surrounded by bags of cornmeal and beans. The American family was surrounded by boxes of frozen food and bags of snacks. Point taken.
My "manner of living" involves modest portions of deliciously prepared food, three times a day, as has been the western custom for centuries.
Sometimes "old fashioned" is a good thing.