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Opening Arguments

We are how we eat

Much has been written about the demise of the family meal symbolizing the unraveling of this or that fabric of society. We shouldn't overlook the obvious point that it has also removed the best way to learn how to eat properly:

We may laugh at reruns of "The Donna Reed Show," a product of the '50s, in which a family gathers daily to say grace over its bountiful table. (The table always has proper linens and a stiff flower arrangement.) But the teenage daughter, though clothes-conscious, has a healthy, well-fed look.

Most families 50 years ago weren't that hoity-toity, but they shared a square meal. Their dinner was also a fixed feature of the day.

When I lived in Michigan City, I had a friend who suffered from anorexia, and it was one of my first lessons in how scary mental illness can be. She had done everything she could to learn about her condition, did all the reading, had all the therapy. She got to the point where she understood perfectly, intellectually, exactly what was happening to her, how dangerous it was, even a large part of what caused it. "But that doesn't mean," she said, "that I still don't see a fat person every time I look in the mirror."

Posted in: Current Affairs