Friday, August 29, 2014

Major Food Groups

Originally published in the
Northland Reader
now called the
Reader Weekly
Duluth, Minnesota
February 17, 2000

When a friend drinks Mountain Dew he often exclaims, "Ahh, two of the major food groups, caffeine and sugar!"  I wondered what the other major food groups were.  After two weeks of lengthy research with my wife and several friends, I completed the list with fat, alcohol, and chocolate.

Caffeine is the jump start to the day.  That first cup of coffee gets our eyes open.  It provides enough sleep banishment to get us out the door.  For others, several cups of coffee are needed to negotiate the drive to work, to stay awake through boring meetings, or to keep at a report or other task.  Soft drinks with caffeine are a good substitute.  Coffee or tea are also a good roundoff to dinner.

Sugar is an important fuel for our bodies.  Like caffeine it is an important day starter.  Sugar in coffee, on cereal, or in syrup on pancakes gets us going in the morning.  A donut midmorning provides momentum for the rest of the morning.  Cookies after school provide kids with energy for their games and homework.  Sugar in dessert is another good roundoff to dinner.

Fat is another important fuel for our bodies.  Fat also lubricates our joints and keeps our skin supple.  Fat is even an essential flavor.  Steaks, hamburgers, or sausages are the centerpiece of any meal.  Sour cream and blue cheese make an excellent salad dressing.  Butter on pancakes, bread, or potatoes seems to make the day go smoother.  Whipped cream on strawberries make an excellent roundoff to dinner.

Alcohol is an important relaxant.  The two-martini lunch provides an important slowdown from the hectic pace of the office.  Beer or whisky before dinner help us reflect on the day.  Wine helps us linger over dinner.  A glass of any one of a number of spirits or liqueurs, which the Italians call "un digestivo," provides another excellent roundoff to dinner.

Chocolate is for our souls what the other four food groups are for our bodies.  Fine chocolate makes a fine life.  Hot chocolate for breakfast helps us gather our thoughts for the day.  A chocolate donut midmorning provides a good break from work.  A chocolate brownie after lunch prepares us for the afternoon.  A chocolate candy bar gives us a morale boost to finish our workday.  A piece of fine chocolate melting slowly in our mouths is the perfect roundoff to dinner.

Many of our favorite foods contain two or more of these major food groups.  There is at least one dish that contains all five: Coffee Chocolate Rum Ice Cream!  Enjoy!