When Did Food Become a Sin?

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Irene Field
Some of you may be aware of the (to be read with hushed breath) ‘Seven Deadly Sins’. To refresh your memory they are:

  1. Lust
  2. Gluttony
  3. Greed
  4. Sloth
  5. Wrath
  6. Envy
  7. Pride

Lately it has come to my notice that another sin appears to have been slipped onto the list. There was no trumpet or fanfare. No ‘Breaking News’ announcement. The Pope did not stand on his balcony at the Vatican to make an announcement.  Like a burglar on a dark night, the eighth sin appears to have been inserted on the list and is labelled ‘Food’.

Have you enjoyed a piece of chocolate. Oh the shock, the horror. You have sinned. Did you dare share a recipe you  made, that has, gasp, fat in some form in the ingredients list. Off to the gallows with you. Hang your head in shame and off with your head.

Now I can understand that smoking, which was once the norm is no longer socially acceptable to the masses. However, we do not have to smoke to keep our body functioning.

Not only do we need food to function, it has the added bonus of tasting good. There are some tasty, and not so tasty bits, which are governed by our very individual thousands of taste buds lurking on the top of our tongue.


A Restaurant has opened in Berlin, proudly advertising ‘Real Food Revolution – Paleolithic cuisine!’  If that twists and twirls your buttons and is a must see next time you drop in to Berlin, fine. But sorry cave man food does not appeal to this writer, especially when enjoying a dining out experience.  If I wanted to make like a caveman (or in this instance caveman’s wife),  I would don an outfit resembling Betty Flintstones and hang out in a cave with no modern  accessories – and which means gulp, I would have to give up my iPhone, deodorant and shampoo – and forage for my own seeds and nuts. Imagine the damage to one’s fingernails!

Now it feels like we have to apologise for enjoying a sweet indulgence.  I confess, I not only made, but ate and enjoyed homemade pavlova slathered in cream. How many lashes will that be? Yes we make our own sausages and the taste isn’t the same without fat added.  That will be five hundred Hail Mary’s.

Forgive me Father for I have sinned.

What is going on in this world.  Was it only a generation or two ago, food wasn’t the big bogey man? You did not have to apologise for indulging in something. And was it less than five years ago, eggs were the big no no. But now they are a yes, yes?

When I read that 10 year olds are having anorexia issues, I wonder if the above is leading to this. Let’s embrace food. I need it for fuel, I need it for the pleasure a morsel or two will provide.  If my indulgence is Paleolithic Cuisine fine. But If my indulgence is homemade baking, or a traditional roast, or butter laden French cuisine – isn’t that my choice, and not for others to judge?

What do you think?


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9 thoughts on “When Did Food Become a Sin?

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  2. I like you attitude regarding food . It has always my belief that if you have a healthy basic diet one is allowed to enjoy the delights of Pavlova ( lashed with cream not whips) and all the other delights that are not good for us.
    The pleasure of a good or ” bad” food and the company of friends and family is something to be treasured.
    Yes let us embrace food and the company that can go with it

  3. I mostly agree Irene….but I have to say that there is so much temptation around now. While there used to be lots of baking or sugared cordials now there is temptation in every store and junk food so readily available. I know I try to mostly feed healthy food to my children but every week there seems to be a function where there are chips and sausages and the treats become more than just treats.

    I am all for a wee treat every day though :)

  4. Completely agree – there is so much more to eating than fuel for your body.
    I am interviewing dietician Mary Rose Spence on Radio this weekend and not sure if I should tell her that I eat chocolate every day and chippies more than once a week….. it has somehow become shameful! I know I could be slightly slimmer but I love my “treats” and they make me feel happy.

    • But Helen, weight wise you are completely ‘normal’. People most probably look at me and think “she stole the last cream bun” but I have ‘skinny’ friends who I can out walk and I am actually fitter than they are. People are so quick to judge.

  5. I totally agree, Irene. The pc brigade just cannot help themselves. Come to think about it there were very few ‘fat’ (shock, horror…is it a sin to use the “F” word now?) kids when I was little and we ate bigger meals than what most eat now. Not to mention drank copious amounts of cordial full of sugar and colouring. What we did in our leisure was run, swim, climb trees etc and our parents had to run to keep up with us.

    • Interesting to see your thoughts ladies. I have had this feeling lately, that you have to apologise if you have eaten or enjoyed something is not ‘pc’. I definitely don’t think we should all rush out and gorge on fast food, but I can remember growing up and Friday nights were always takeaway night. Even in the 70s the weekly roasts at the in-laws were all cooked in lard. But somehow food has become something to be apologised for. When did it all turn?

  6. Amen, Helen, right on!! I feel exactly the same way! I also sometimes feel guilty because none of the recipes that I share on my blog are gluten-free, dairy-free, or anything-free really. They might be vegetarian sometimes, but that’s purely by accident. But yes, why is Food a sin?!