People are passionate about the shit they are passionate about. That’s cool.
There are many topics that inspire crazy levels of excitement and dedication in me that other people find totally pointless and boring (“Let’s talk about succession sowing kale some more, can we, can we please?!”) On the other hand, fourteen seconds of polite conversation about anything popular-culture gets me to the smile-and-nod level. That song that’s getting played everywhere? Yeah, I don’t know it. That show everyone’s watching? I’ve never seen it. That guy who looks amazing with his shirt off? I have no idea who you are talking about – is he a farmer?
But here’s the thing I’ve learned: even when you are super-duper passionate about something, it’s best to take the soft-sell approach. For most people, the only thing that’s a bigger turn-off than a detailed discussion of which kale is best for Fall (a clear tie between Chidori and Lacinato) vs. Winter (Red Russian unless you are in very cold climates in which case Siberian or Winterbor) is that same discussion coming from a fanatic.
Case in point, a few days ago on my Facebook page I shared a photo of a hamburger I’d made. A reader responded with a lot of passion about my hamburger bun. Typically, I don’t really engage with someone who has so much single-minded dedication to a topic because it tends to derail the main conversation. Most of us are this way – in order not to get looped into something or “feed the trolls” as it were, we avoid pointing out to overly enthusiastic people that they are spreading their heartfelt message in all the wrong way.
But I thought it might be instructive to let down the filter and add in the natural internal responses I (and I think many folks) have when they see these kinds of one-sided discussions. In this case, the comments from the reader are presented almost verbatim (some editorial license has been taken) and my responses have been mostly filled in after the fact.
How Not To Get Your Point Across
Me: Hey look, here’s a picture of a yummy hamburger I made and am now enjoying for dinner. It sure takes a long time to make a hamburger from scratch, hah hah.
Reader: Wait, you eat wheat?
Me: I eat everything.
Reader: But…I thought you were gluten free.
Reader: I thought this was a grain free page!
Me: No….I mean, I’m not anti gluten-free or anything, but for me, I’m a big tent omnivore who personally feels that there any many ways of eating that are reasonable and can be healthy. Basically, I have no dog in anyone’s dietary fight beyond periodically mentioning that some of the industrial products advertised as food are not actually food.
Reader: So, you aren’t even a gluten free site?
Me: Still no. But there are many gluten-free sites out there, perhaps you should check them out?
Reader: I don’t eat grains, sugar or high carbs.
Me: Um, congrats? Do you want a medal, or a hug or something?
Reader: Haven’t you read Wheat Belly?
Me: Oh for fuck’s sake. Yes, I’ve read Wheat Belly. I’ve also read The China Study, Good Calories, Bad Calories, Eat. Stop. Eat, The Paleo Solution, The Primal Blueprint, The Atkins New Diet Revolution, and every diet book ever written marketed around a warm sunny zip code. I’ve read all the books because I am a compulsive reader. And Wheat Belly was truly one of the worst.
If you want a legit guru for a low carb or grain free way of eating, try Gary Taubes or Robb Wolf. In the meantime, I still eat all the food and I still don’t care if you opt to only eat some of it. And I don’t care if the reason you only eat some of it is religious, dietary, ethical, medical or because that’s what the Unicorn Princess Fairies from the HappyLand Woods do to get spankin’ great asses. Whatever your reason, I fully support your right to eat only some of the food.
But I’m telling you, that was a really good hamburger.
Reader: Wheat is toxic….it’s poison!
Me: Well thank goodness this is only a picture of a hamburger, then. If it were a real hamburger, the yeasty aroma from the freshly baked, homemade, organic poppy seed bun might kill us all like Sarin Gas.1
I snorted my hot tea out my nose reading this. Well done!
Stoney Acres says
Seriously funny post! And I haven’t had such a good time reading comments for a long time! Very fun Discussion!!
Janice Dodd says
We are so lucky to have sane people in our world; you do a good job of balancing ‘everything’!
Keep up the great work Erica…
Whackey Von Glutenburg says
Seriously? I do a Google search for really hot buns and spankin’ great asses, this page comes up, so I come here to check out the goods and what do I find?
Foodie porns and unicorns. What is the world coming to?
loving the phrase “feeding the trolls.” My husband and I use the phrase “feeding the beast” to warn the other that we are promoting bad behavior in our kids like when we buy one something he’s been rudely demanding or when parents hand the cell phone to the nagging kid pulling mom’s sweater half off while she’s talking to someone. Definitely substituting in “feeding the trolls.”
lol Um, I don’t recall you ever claiming you were a gluten-free site! I think I might’ve thought you were a vegetarian at first, but neither way bothers me. Anyway, I’ve been enjoying the posts so far. BTW, gluten-free only benefits people who have a gluten allergy, it’s not an absolute for everybody.
(Note: I feel I should point out that I often use the term “allergy” to refer to an actual allergy as well as being unable to process a particular food. My partner, for example, can’t digest kale, but when explaining to others, I say that she’s allergic. After reading the comments, I felt I should clarify.)
I avoid wheat and gluten. I’m not celiac according to the Dr, but I do not digest gluten (very gassy) and feel like the lining to my colon is being ripped out when I have a ‘movement’. At this point I suspect glyphosphates – in addition to what we are exposed to in our environment / diet, some ill informed gardening book I was reading years ago was raving about the stuff, so I liberally sprayed Round-Up on my weeds and to prepare planting beds. Now it’s all coming out about how devastating the stuff is. So, I avoid gluten almost all the time, but not religiously. I bake fabulous soaked buckwheat flour blueberry muffins, and buy a lot of Udi’s GF bread products. I do lots of detox stuff and hope somehow my body recovers. Wouldn’t touch that lovely hamburger bun, but have no problems with anyone else choosing to!!
I’m into Weston A. Price Foundation, where the focus with grains is sprouting or soaking to reduce phytic acid. However my reading realized that you can only reduce phytic acid so much (maybe by half or a bit more , depending on what food you’re dealing with). Also realized that phytic acid has some beneficial applications in cancer prevention / detoxification – so I still try to reduce it, but definitely don’t freak out about it if I eat some conventionally prepared beans or something.
Some people just go on and on, eh?
I am a fanatic for a damn good hamburger and it has to have a wheat bun to be damn good.
Righteous photo of a great burger.