Golden cornbread fresh from the oven looks beautiful and smells even better.  A quiet bitter cold afternoon provides the perfect environment to bake. I seldom need to cook or bake. Therefore, when the spirit arises it is for pure pleasure.

The baking bread led me to thoughts of food, both traditional and modern. That led me to contemplate the “Food Pyramid” of USDA fame (A little honesty here – a friend had asked me what I thought of this).

The first food pyramid was published in Sweden in 1974. The food pyramid introduced by the United States Department of Agriculture in 1992 is called the "Food Guide Pyramid". Somehow, I thought it was older than that.

The ancient Egyptians built astounding monuments including The Great Pyramid of Giza, which is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids we see in the pictures. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact. It is estimated to have been completed around 2560 BC and stood as the tallest man-made structure for more than 3,800 years.

What a sad commentary that we should use this classic design that has endured for over 4500 years to display an ever-changing recommendation for diets.

What did the Egyptians eat?  According to BBC History Magazine, most years saw a harvest of cereals (barley and wheat used to make bread, cakes and beer), vegetables (beans, lentils, onions, garlic, leeks, lettuces and cucumbers), and fruits (grapes, figs and dates). There was abundant wild fowl and Nile fish. Cattle were farmed by the wealthy and smaller animals (sheep, goats, pigs, geese) kept by the more humble households.

That sounds good to me.  I would be happy to eat what those ancient peoples did except that I would miss chocolate, peanut butter and gorgonzola cheese.

I believe it’s important for our government to provide regulations for clean air and water, and a food supply free of dangerous chemicals and disease causing pathogens. I don’t think that telling us what we should all eat is a productive use of our tax money. It is foolish because we vary according to health, need, desire, access, finance, and cultural preferences.  

Eggs are now healthy after years of cholesterol scares.  They’re not part of MY healthy diet.  When I was little, I hated eggs. (“Betty, finish your eggs. They’re good for you. Think of all those starving Armenians”). I drowned them in catsup and had a stomachache for the remainder of the day.  The stomach pains progressed to a severe allergic reaction. When a person does not like a specific food, it is often for a good reason. 

Do you think you caught me in an untenable situation?  Yes, that cornbread contains eggs. I will not eat it. It is for my husband. He loves it and I love him.

Let’s restore the pyramid to where it belongs – in the sands of Egypt and the history books. Be sure that we have access to a variety of fresh and safe food, but don’t try to micromanage our diets.

Thank you and goodnight.

Betty Ago

Betty is a real person who resides in one of our Brookdale entry fee communities. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Brookdale Senior Living.


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