For starters, they’re nerve endings. They’re in clusters on the tongue and in the lining of the mouth. If you want numbers, the tongue houses from 3,000 to 10,000 individual buds, giving us our sense of taste. They have a tragically short lifespan, though, dying off every 10 to 14 days. Do not panic. They get replaced by fresh ones, of which we have an endless supply. You won’t run out.
We all know about the five basic food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy. We’re practically drowning in nutrition information, health guidelines, and calorie counts. Dietary options abound: there’s fat-free, low sodium, organic, free range, cage free, vegetarian, vegan. Eating is a complicated business. You need an advanced degree just to decipher food labels.
So to conserve effort, I default to my taste buds in matters concerning nutrition. They’re the decision makers. As a result, my food groups have been reduced to three: salt, sugar, and caffeine.
Meals typically come from a bag or a box or on a stick. I consider cellophane wrappers a hallmark of good nourishment. And carbonation is my favoritest ingredient — I love fizzy. Not sparkling. Fizzy. Bubbles up my nose, effervescing and popping. It’s better than gin and it tickles.
I’m a keen devotee of McDonald’s, too. Particularly the Egg White McMuffin, but it needs salt. Obviously. Anything cooked cries for salt — hot dogs, grilled cheeses, tv dinners, tuna salad, whatever. And don’t be stingy, either. A good rule of thumb is to salt your food until it’s crunchy.
I’d eat better if I had a chef, probably, someone to do the cooking and thinking for me. Left to my own devices, I blindly follow my taste buds along the path to destruction. I should just give in and learn to cook. But I have no interest in it. None. It’s so much flipping work.
Quick and easy is my métier. Tonight’s menu, for instance, features a fresh bag of Salt & Vinegar chips with a chilled litre of Coke; Twinkies for dessert.
According to actuarial tables, I’ll live to be 12.