Kage Baker loved chocolate. Anyone who knows anything about her, knows that. Her devotion to theobromos was not at all an assumed posture, either, nor an attitude she took on for the promotion of her Company stories. It was a devout and authentic affection.
The Company stories were one of the ways Kage immortalized, publicized, deified, advertized and otherwise made much of things she liked. People who should not have died. Cities that should not have fallen. Art that should not have been lost. Foods that went extinct, or fell out of fashion, or were vilified at intervals by the ever-changing whims of nutrition. Chocolate has been repeatedly pilloried and then made respectable again over the centuries.
So has sugar. So has alcohol. There are always foods being declared bad and then discovered to actually be of benefit; one of the most recent additions to the Naughty List of comestibles is grain, especially wheat. Caffeine has gone up and down like a yoyo on the Good/Bad scale. Dairy products are also now bad for humans: despite all the trouble that was gone through in the pastoral societies of Eurasia and Africa to develop lactose tolerance genes, cheese is now held to be as addictive as heroin, and milk makes you fat and it’s all Beast Slavery besides ….
Kage’s opinion was that nutritionists and old wives have a natural intolerance for simple pleasures like carbohydrates and plant alkaloids. The majority of eaters in the world, however – i.e., the rest of us – have an inborn fondness for these substances. Coffee! Tea! Cheese! Chocolate! Sugars! Alcohols! Fungi! Bread! Best of all, coffee, tea and chocolate with sugars in them, or water with grain and sugar and yeast!
You, Dear Readers, may well have discovered in yourselves dangerous sensitivities to some or all of these emotionally charged substances. I’m not criticizing anyone who has; take care of yourself, by all means. However, I object to being told I have to change what I eat because someone else doesn’t like it. That happens far too much lately, and then 2 months later it turns out the despised foodstuff will save you from strokes, or cancer, or vampires … teach common sense to people instead of horror stories, and maybe they’ll eat more intelligently.
Or maybe not. I’m not sure that will matter too much, in the long run – there are 7 billion of us already. As Kage noticed, humans have expressed an unlimited enthusiasm for sugar, alcohol, carbs and alkaloids – even more than for meat. I know a lot of vegetarians who blanch at the idea of a lamb chop, but happily partake of a craft beer. Kage observed that life was too short to worry constantly over whether or nor you could drink a cup of coffee or eat a chocolate bar … and no matter how careful you are about your diet, no matter how thick you paint (as Shakespeare says), you will come to this:
Not that this is a downer. Kage took it as a sign that life is full of goodies and we should all enjoy them as much as possible. The only political correctness that should apply to food is whether or not everyone has enough of it. Otherwise – eat what you will, don’t be a jerk, and say thank you to the vagaries of nature and chemistry that give you these things to make you happier.
It’s Easter today. If you are not of the Easter persuasion, no problem – it’s still a Spring day, and a good time to be nice to yourself and those you love. The human world is all too willing to poison, shoot or blow you up: everything you do to spread love is an improvement, even if it’s only one small jelly bean to one small child. Have a beer, share a sandwich, paint an egg, feed some people.
The resurrection of the world, Dear Readers, is not a one-time event.