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« Unraveling The "Webb" of Injustice | Main | Marriage After Iowa (Joe) »

April 01, 2009


The 'holy water' can be disastrous for the intestines: I've had numerous relatives who ended up with severe dysentery after partaking just a sip or two, though of course, they wouldn't attribute it to that, just a vague 'something we ate'.

You said it, Ruchira -- it's gotta be the placebo effect. The transformative power is in the eater, not the food. If someone knows an item they're eating is supposed to produce a beneficial result that goes beyond proper nutrition and reaches into emotional well-being, and that person is moderately to highly suggestible, then they might just feel better after eating. The foods I think will make me feel better are berries, mangoes, chocolate, chicken soup, shell fish, almost any type of organic lettuce, freshly baked bread, and artisanal extra-virgin olive oil. Partly, I experience gratitude they exist -- not to sound like Oprah, but if you can manage that, other good feelings will follow. As for Intentional Chocolate -- I'd like to see how it compares with Valrhona.

Here is a comment that Dean tried repeatedly to post and failed. The reason? I am guessing he inserted too many links within the text which sometimes will flag a comment as SPAM. So Dean e-mailed it to me and I am copying it here with reduced URLs.
Wrote Dean:

In the event it doesn't make it, here it is:

Trying to recover a comment posted earlier today but lost in the morass of the World Wide Heap...

Consider that nauseating food writer platitude, "comfort food." What food, I often wonder, isn't comforting? And speaking of platitudes, check out the menu of Berkeley's and San Francisco's Café Gratitude. (It'll fix your attitude.)

So, "some claim there's actually something to the idea that humans can alter the physical world with their minds." That'd be Mary Baker Eddy and her Christian Scientists.

The placebo effect is, on the one hand, a real phenomenon. On the other hand, there's something unsettling about the marketing of it as such. (And I almost commented on Joe's post about pot that I have had a suspicion that the effects of marijuana are largely due to placebo. But that's another story.)

Ruchira, I must admit, I assumed, initially, that this was an April Fool's post! laugh

This is hilarious! But I think yours is a brilliant idea, Ruchira, of generating world peace with "intentional foods." If the gimmick actually works, what's stopping the world from all kinds of betterment? We could see universal enlightenment in our lifetimes. Sadly, I think the monk at the end reveals the fundamental flaw in the idea (I mean, aside from the fact that it's as wacked out as any kind of voodoo): in the end, the only real intention that's going to be purely transmitted is the intention to make money.

By the way, I've dined on occasion at Cafe Gratitude, and I must say that while the concept and décor are a bit precious, the food is surprisingly tasty. I was grateful to learn that a slice of "live" strawberry vegan nut-milk cheesecake tastes at least as good as an actual cheesecake. Different but delicious. Also, the entire place seems to be staffed by otherworldly innocents whose calm and sweetness give the experience its own goofy charm.

I do not see what is so bizarre about this idea in principle. In fact, it's quite intuitive. It may be silly and unnecessary as a marketed item, and -like anything else- the object of totemization by those who simply seek instant gratification or purely material results, but that's a different issue.

Liberate yourself from your empiricist bonds.

I must say that while the concept and decor are a bit precious, the food is surprisingly tasty.

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