Embracing the "To Live For" Philosophy

  • by Larry Stanleigh, BSc, MSc, DDS, FAGD, FADI, FICD, FACD, FPFA
  • May 2, 2019, 13:42 PM
Eating is essential for life. It is not only necessary to keep us alive, but also can be a source of great pleasure and important social interaction. Not surprisingly, a great portion of our lives is devoted to preparing and eating food.

A common misconception is that dentists do not approve of some types of culinary indulgences. For example, my patients think that I disapprove of Halloween and the consumption of candy on that day. I tell them that we only have one life to live, so why not enjoy it. Even if you believe in reincarnation, you only remember one life at a time. So savor the moment, and just make sure you brush your teeth well afterward.

My wife is from a family of amazing home chefs. Her mom prepares incredible Gujarati vegetarian food with East African flavors. Food prepared by my mother-in-law is better than any restaurant food I have ever eaten. My father-in-law is just as good, as are my wife’s five siblings. Family events are all about the food ― and we eat well. At home, my wife makes meals from scratch that are delicious and healthy in almost no time at all.

Why do I admire culinary talent so much? Because I hate being in the kitchen. There are a million other things I would rather do than prepare food. So when it’s my turn to cook, I order in, or we go out. That old saying: “My favorite thing to make for dinner is a reservation,” definitely rings true for me. My usual way to call my family to dinner is, “OK kids, get in the car.”

I have had the good fortune to travel extensively, frequently with my family. As a result we eat out frequently, especially when we are travelling. I have to tell you that from my experience Calgary is one of the world’s best kept secrets for dining. It has amazing restaurants with amazingly creative chefs who prepare delicious food. We regularly discover an incredible dish or flavor when we’re there, or something that is amazing. 

You know that other old expression about food that is so good, “it is to die for”? Once, in Calgary, my then 5-year-old daughter Samara took exception to that phrase. She said, “Why would you want to die? Once you are dead, you cannot enjoy it. You should say, it is to live for!”

What a profound statement. Out of the mouth of babes, which is yet another old, commonly used expression. But, this time, it was absolutely appropriate. 

Now my family no longer uses the “to die for” expression. We say instead that great food is to live for. I hope you will think of extraordinary culinary experiences that way, too.
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