Too much of a good thing?

We’re noticing an odd phenomenon around the dinner table these days. Although we all agree the food we’re eating is significantly better than any we’ve ever eaten, we’re eating less than usual. If Debbie prepares the usual portions, a fair amount of it ends up as leftovers. This is not a bad thing in itself—we may be one of the few families that looks forward to a meal of leftovers, given that the food is all so good—but it does seem strange that with better food we would be eating less, rather than more.

My theory is that the food is simply more satisfying than it has been in the past. When I drink a glass of fresh milk, I don’t feel full so much as I feel satisfied; it meets whatever craving I have. It used to be that whenever Debbie made PB&Js for lunch we went through a loaf of store bought bread, with the older kids eating three or four sandwiches; now on Maggie’s homemade bread they’ll eat one, and the little ones will have half or less. When we used to order pizza out, we would go through at least two large ones; now when Debbie makes it at home, we are full after a couple of slices. I suspect that higher levels of protein and animal fat contribute to that.

It may also be true that the hotter days are giving us less of an appetite. Today was hot and humid, and most of us spent at least some time working outside. And we haven’t yet begun using the air conditioning in the house. Tonight for dinner we had grilled marinated chicken, boiled and buttered new potatoes, and sauteed squash straight from the garden. Usually I’d fill up on the chicken, but because of the heat I wasn’t all that hungry, so I had just a little chicken and devoted most of my attention to appreciating the creaminess of the potatoes and the freshness of the squash. We had grilled less chicken than usual, knowing that our eating habits are shifting, and still about half of what I grilled was left over (and will make a mighty fine lunch in the next few days).

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