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Older gourmands are still eating the same

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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/02/din...

They are my heroes.

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  1. I dunno. On the one hand, it's admirable that they continue to take an interest in life's pleasures. But I can't exactly cheer for this guy:

    "Mr. Garfield, unchanged in his alimentary ways even though he’s had his gallbladder and prostate removed and had a quintuple bypass in 1992, said, not without satisfaction, 'The main thing to understand about the people who have constantly warned me about what I eat is that I’m here and they’re not.'”

    There's a point where stubbornly eating stuff that harms you goes from being adorably transgressive to stupid and self-destructive. I think it would be right around that quintuple bypass. Plenty of long-term heroin users still enjoy the drug. Doesn't mean heroin is a good thing.

    3 Replies
    1. re: small h

      Did you miss the part where it was stated that he was 95 YEARS OLD? And the bypass was almost 20 years ago? Dude can eat whatever he wants. And I love what he says because it's true.

      The one thing I noticed is that with rare exceptions they were eating non-processed/ home-cooked foods (the author's mom seems to love her sweets, though).

      1. re: MandalayVA

        I didn't say he couldn't eat whatever he wants. I said I didn't admire it. 'Cause I don't, the same way I don't admire people who attempt Jackass-type stunts and survive. Mr. Garfield is not heroic; he's lucky.

        1. re: MandalayVA

          Yes, that is what I thought. I can't see where their diet is "unhealthy". Sugar and processed foods are the killers- not meat, caviar, calves liver, and some other items in the article. It seemed like the authors mom ate alot of sweets (but that's hard to tell what her daily sweet intake is from this article).

          It also didn't appear (from the photos) that they were overweight or in poor general health. It might be because they don't eat the processed, prepared food....it's not "gourmand". No one mentioned fast food. I might have a different reaction if they did.

      2. That was a fun read, actually. I kinda sorta agree with small h but I really loved the two 90 year olds who said, "We drink as much as we can."
        (No, I'm Not 90. Yet.)

        1. On a rational level, I understand that food is fuel. The better the fuel, the better the performance. I understand that to look and feel my best, I cannot exist on a diet of Scrapple and Cheese fries.

          We all know about Jack LaLanne. The man was a fitness pioneer. He lived, breathed, and exemplified a healthy lifestyle. His famous quote was "If God didn't make it, I won't eat it." He lived to the ripe old age of 96. Vivacious to the end.

          Then you have my great great Aunt Cora. She drank. She smoked. She caroused (to put it politely). She ate absolutely anything that crossed her plate. This was a woman who thought mold was a vegetable. She lived defiantly alone, until passing at the ripe old age of 95.

          I say more power to 'em.

          1. We have been eating less calories in a modified weight watchers method. Trying to be more accountable for what we take in. I don't like to follow a menu plan or anything like that. Just being more accountable.

            1 Reply
            1. re: scubadoo97

              Yes. My guess is when these folks talk about eating whatever they want, the actual portion sizes they are consuming are very small compared to the average younger eater.

            2. "If I'd known I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself."

              Eubie Blake

              Amen, brother!

              1. I like Alan Arkin's take from "Little Miss Sunshine":

                Grandpa: Let me tell ya, don't go doing that stuff. When you're young, you're crazy to do that shit.
                Frank: Well what about you?
                Grandpa: What about me? I'm old! When you're old you're crazy **not** to do it.

                1. My dad 'discovered' food when my mom died when he was 75. Since then (despite having health concerns) he's learned to cook and absolutely LOVES food (and drink, it has to be said). He cooks from scratch mostly and dines out with friends several times a week at high class places (spending my inheritance which is fine by me) and is having the time of his life. My brother tuts when he sees dad take another Belgian chocolate, dollop of butter or another shot of 25 year old malt scotch - but I say enjoy it while you can. He's 82 now, and unhealthy as can be and loving it - who has the right to put him on a low fat low alcohol diet so he can live a bit longer against his wishes?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Peg

                    Good for your dad! And good for you realizing the quality of these late years is of more consequence than the quantity. (And who's to say, he doesn't live just as long because he isn't depressed by a restricted diet--sharing meals out with friends a few times a week has to be a life extender.)

                  2. I can't remember who said it, but there is a famous quote along the lines of "You can stop drinking, stop smoking, eat only healthy foods, and exercise every day, but you won't live forever, it will only feel that way"

                    I say good for the people in the article. They've all already had a great run, might as well enjoy the days left to their fullest. If I were 90 I'd rather have one or two more years eating, drinking, and doing whatever I wanted than ten more years having to pay strict obedience to doctor's orders.

                    1. The article talks about folks who are in relatively good health. What about all the older people who aren't in good health, who eat what they want, and ignore their doctors' concerns? I know plenty of older diabetics who think that "just a taste" of the cake or dessert is ok. Those "tastes" add up when you're having a a few bites of pancakes in syrup with breakfast, cherry pie at lunch, a few bites of chocolate mousse at dinner, and an after dinner snack...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: cheesecake17

                        If they're in their 80's and 90's, I say "let them eat cake"!

                      2. The article is a good read, very heart warming. If I live to their age, I hope I have the same positive attitude as they do. Like Julia Child said, eat and enjoy everything in moderation.