By Rex C. Curry for the NYT
Mary Pyland, 92, of Abilene, eating fried chicken. Rock those nails, Mami.For others, eating well is a way to keep traditions alive. Mary Pyland, 92, of Abilene, Tex., was raised on a ranch. “We had a fried chicken dinner every Sunday,” said Ms. Pyland, who ran a cosmetics store until she was 84. “I lost my husband 16 years ago, and I try to keep up everything we always did. Honey, I just had fried chicken with cream gravy and biscuits and mashed potatoes for dinner last night. And I made a caramel pie that was just about the best thing you ever put your lips around.”
One trope that comes up often in conversations with older gourmands is that eating what they want is, at their age, a right or privilege. For some of these privileged or righteous folks, it’s a question of not curbing one’s impulses.
Larry Garfield, 95, of Key Biscayne, Fla., worked in the carpet industry until he was 83. Asked why he recently ate a rare calf’s liver with mashed potatoes at Joe Allen’s restaurant in Miami Beach (even though he shouldn’t have, given his diabetes), Mr. Garfield said: “You ever walked down the street and seen a pretty girl and thought, ‘Mm! That’s for me!’? Well, I looked at the menu and thought, ‘Mm! That’s for me!’ ”
For other righteous or privileged folk, eating is a reward. Barbara Hillary, who reached the South Pole in January at age 79, making her the first African-American woman on record to stand on both poles, said she ate too much milk chocolate during the trip. “If I had frozen to death down there, wouldn’t it be sad if I’d gone to hell without getting what I want?” she said.
In some cases, this same right or privilege seems to stem from having lived an exalted life. Nancy Cardozo and Aileen Ward met at Isadora Duncan’s school on Nantucket when they were 14. Ms. Cardozo said: “We did Duncan dancing. We flitted on the grass in little Greek dresses.”
Both went on to lead vivid lives. Ms. Cardozo wrote fiction and poetry for the New Yorker in the 1940s and ’50s; Ms. Ward won the National Book Award in 1964 for her biography of Keats, and used to car-pool with Vladimir Nabokov when she taught at Wellesley.
Now, despite some technical difficulties (“There are chewing problems,” Ms. Cardozo said. “That doesn’t sound very attractive, does it?”), they eat luxuriant foods, albeit in small portions. “It feels like entitlement,” Ms. Cardozo explained. “We deserve it because it’s the way we’ve always lived, and we don’t want to change.”http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/02/dining/02Elder.html?scp=1&sq=abilene&st=cse
Food and foodies, the monetization by doctors of diet regimes, Obama pushing his basically anorectic ways, the Bourdain/Pollan-inspired snuff film porn aesthetic
of off-the-grid butchers, are getting intolerable
; I cite again the recent no-shit-Sherlock discovery in Arizona that treating Alzheimer's patients like adult humans
-- with bacon, chocolate, bourbon, perfume and dollies if that's what floats their boat -- as a paradigm changing concept.
Noah Berger for The New York Times
Bobby Seale, 75, Black Panther, eating bobbycue. It's baaaaaaaaaaaaad for you, Suzy Creamcheese.
Bobby Seale, bound and gagged in court, Chicago 7 Trial, 1969.