Could he, do it? Could he really eat a burger the size of his head? After half an hour of build-up, we had to find out. Welcome to the world of Man Vs Food.
Man Vs Food is one man’s odyssey around the US of A sampling the delights that American cuisine has to offer through the various eating challenges some restaurants have to draw in the punters. This man goes by the name of Adam Richman. He is charm personified. His enthusiasm for food, kitchens, America and life in general has a magnetic draw. You can’t help but cheer him on in his quest. It’s a great programme showing the diversity of American food. It’s easy to dismiss American food as all burgers, fries, terrible chocolate and enough sweet stuff to fire a power station. Yet America is a huge country. I remember being told once that the distance from New York to LA is the same as from London to Baghdad. A country so vast must have a lot of diversity within it.
In Man Vs Food, you see amazing seafood from the north-eastern states, Mexican inspired food from the south west, Texan steaks and a never-ending supply of hot wings and other barbecue food matter. One of the best Man Vs Food came from Puerto Rico, which is part of the States, but somehow isn’t. Yet Adam and all of us viewers, were bowled over by how amazing the cuisine was as well as the warmth of its people.
America gets a hard rap from most people. Sometimes this is wholly justified especially where foreign affairs are concerned. But it is an amazing country. It has deserts, mountains, swamps and glorious beaches. It’s quite understandable that two thirds of Americans don’t possess a passport. They don’t need to go anyway, they have everything they need.
Food is a contentious issue in cancer. Don’t eat sugar. Don’t eat bacon. Don’t drink caffeine. Every week there seems to be a different bit of advice. It’s a tough call as food is a very personal thing. We live in a time now where eating is something to feel guilty about.
My cancer has affected my eating. Thanks to the surgery on my mouth, I can’t open my mouth very wide. I feel a pang of jealousy every time I see Adam deliver a huge bite into a burger, sandwich or burrito. My big biting days are sadly over. It also takes me longer to eat food. This can be a bit awkward, especially in restaurants. On the plus side, as I’m chewing my food more, the portions I have, have reduced drastically. Whether this is good or not, time will tell.
I am now a messy eater. This is something I relish. I see some people that I eat with recoil sometimes when I am eating. Rather than be ashamed by this, I get a perverse enjoyment from their discomfort. This is because, like Adam, I think that food should be enjoyed. How can you enjoy food without getting a bit messy in a while? Adam often has hot sauce smeared over his face, which he wipes off with the back of his hand, before taking another chunk out of whatever it is he’s eating. It’s pure enjoyment, plain and simple.
We are lucky to live in a country where food is in abundance. You could say that programmes like Man Vs Food seems to show the dark side of this where gluttony is celebrated. Yet food makes people happy. If you feel like a piece of cake, have that piece of cake. Just don’t eat the whole cake…