Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Foodies May Be Our True Dietary Messiahs

By Catherine Lockley

The facts and figures in the Australian Dietary Guidelines are less influential on our dietary habits than the enthusiastic narratives of food cooked up by gastronomes.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Have you ever had the “perfect meal”? An offering that delights the eyes, the palate, the emotions and the olfactory senses? A meal whose flavours are so delightful, surprising and masterfully woven that you can’t even imagine wanting to over-eat?

I can guarantee you that if you have, the meal was not prepared by Lite’n Easy, Weight Watchers or even a registered dietician. This meal was created by a food artist, a chef. This person probably didn’t give two figs about calories, phyto­­nutrients, antioxidants or macronutrient profiles – any more than a great painter worries about the chemistry of the cerulean blue on his brush. This balance and excitement came from a deep knowledge of flavour, of season, of the person that grew the food, and of the feelings elicited by words, textures, temperature and colour.

Current research suggests that at least part of our obesity crisis reflects a profound disconnection with our food, and that this disconnect is primarily imprinted during our childhood years. Somewhere along the way we forgot to teach our children how to grow, and how to cook.

We reduced food to fuel, and allowed generations of kitchen and garden stories to disappear. These stories were not scientific, very few were even factual, but they were engaging and beautiful. Our forgotten food narratives once linked us to each other, our world and even to a...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.