The Richness of Eating
The manuscript opens in Hotel Conquistador, at the Guatemalan military’s annual health conference, which in 2008 focused on obesity. The chapter draws attention to the emergence of quantitative nutrient standards as means of encouraging weight loss. It suggests that nutrition-centered thinking parallels financial accounting in two ways. First, all values of life become understood as calculable; second, measures constantly fail to add up. The chapter shows that even in the midst of military bureaucracy, surrounded by the ghosts of colonizers (after whom the wings of the hotel were named) and food and pharmaceutical industry formulas, the so-called strength of a quantitative approach to treatment remained fractured and incomplete. This chapter sets the stage for the text at large: despite the prevalence in global standards for food, weight, and metabolic health, people sought caregiving strategies that valued the imprecision of taste and pleasure.
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