I am a Chinese Medicine practitioner in Manhattan and have a lot of experience eating.
I grew up in Caldwell, New Jersey in an Italian-American family that knew about food-- I was helping out in the kitchen before I could ride a tricycle. Making cavatelli is a perfect activity for pre-schoolers, just so you know.
As I got older I continued to cook, at some point discovering that there were these things called cookbooks where one could find out how to make dishes that were outside of the familial repertoire. Food TV entered my life much later between chemo sessions, promising warm fuzzy normalcy when I finally returned from the alien cancer universe.
Between all the cooking and eating I managed to go to acupuncture school, earning my degree in Oriental Medicine. Food assumed an expanded role in my life: in Chinese medicine it is a treatment method, dietary therapy, which is closely related to herbal/botanical treatment. I soon realized that people had a lot to say about what you ate and that these ideas were put forth with a sense of moral urgency. “Thou shalt not eat nightshades,” “thou shalt not eat dairy,” “thou shalt basically question any pleasurable food related experience.”
Something seemed wrong about this—food should be enjoyable-- and so I’ve tried to take a closer look at the therapeutic usage and energetics of food, keeping in mind that with all the difficult things in the world, food should not be one of them.
I also think it’s interesting that the Italian “ciao” is the homophone of the English “chow”.
Joan Boccino is a New York State Licensed Acupuncturist, nationally board certified in Oriental Medicine. She maintains an active practice in Manhattan and teaches at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. Anyone with questions about Chinese Dietary Therapy can email her: [email protected] Office phone: 212-777-3909.