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Food, Fashion and Identity

Does what we eat and drink define us?

Modish munching on meat-free meat!

What did you last eat? Was it “naughty” food? Was it homemade? Did it contain meat? Or perhaps some sort of meat substitute? Personally, I’ve just been sat at the kitchen table devouring bread dipped in roast chicken fat. You can’t beat it. Never mind your cronuts or fashionable burgers, for artery-clogging goodness I just go straight to the source. But why, pray, am I telling you this? And why am I prying into your culinary affairs? Because, my friends, I have recently come to realise that we really are what we eat. Not in the traditional sense – which is all to do with your diet and health – but in the sense that we create an identity for ourselves through what we do and do not consume.

Did you know, for example, that there are men in the world who don’t eat quiche because they think it’s unmanly? I’ve never heard of anything so ridiculous, but I know for a fact that these chaps are out there. They perceive quiche as a feminine sort of food, rather continental and altogether too fancy for its own good. Meanwhile, they presumably view themselves as some sort of sword-wielding “manly men”, like something out of “300”. They’re certainly not staying away from quiche because they don’t like the flavour – come on, it’s egg, cheese and pastry; how bad can it be? This is all a question of self-image.

And what about all the food trends of today? Look at milk. Why have so many people suddenly stopped drinking good old cow’s milk? It’s alternative milk all the way now – oat milk, almond milk, rice milk, soy milk… anything but actual milk. I appreciate that some people have genuine health problems caused by milk and dairy products, but they are a small minority. I just refuse to believe that after centuries, nay millennia, this dietary staple is suddenly no good for human consumption. Generations of British children have been reared on their daily carton of milk at primary school, and now you’re telling me that, virtually overnight, nobody can stomach the stuff? That’s nonsense. This clearly isn’t about health or diet; it’s a matter of defining oneself through what passes ones lips. Alternative milks are hip. If you drink almond milk and reject the bovine udder, you’re clearly a trendy, modern sort of person, far removed from the average bloke quaffing his bog-standard cow’s milk....

Read the complete article at Menswear Style, an online men's fashion and lifestyle magazine and one of the leading digital publications in the UK.

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