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My cardinal rules of food and eating to enjoy life

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So often when having an especially sublime or especially horrendous eating experience, I think to myself, this is a lesson to remember on some level. I decided to compile a few of the rules I've had in the back of my mind for some time and hopefully you can take something useful away from reading. Please feel free to post your own food and eating for happiness and enjoyment rules in the comments below.

1) Always, always wear clothing when you fry bacon on the stove. Those pops of grease into the air that randomly occur, especially if you are in a hurry and the heat is on the higher side, can hit you in just the wrong spots otherwise. What may have begun as a romantic morning of cooking breakfast for your companion could end up in annoying burns on parts of your body, and therefore a reduction in your enjoyment of that special moment.

2) Avoid high fructose corn syrup!!! I can't stress this one enough. This ingredient, chemically engineered in the 1980s and ubiquitous in most American processed foods ever since, is terrible for your body. It interferes with proper insulin production and can give many sensitive people gastrointestinal issues if they have fructose absorption problems, because HFCS is unnaturally high in fructose. Recent research was also released that indicates gluten sensitivity may actually not exist at all, but is rather a response to FODMAPs in food, of which fructose is one.

3) When attending an event such as a cocktail party or other formal gathering, avoid such appetizers as bruschetta, tapenade, and salsa. All of these delicious items are served upon toast points, crackers, or chips and if you attempt to eat them while standing up, you will most likely have stray bits of tomato, olive, etc. fall onto your clothes or the floor in front of you. Not a great situation if you are trying to make an impression. I could go even more strict with this guideline and say don't eat appetizers at all if you are trying to convey a certain image: what's worse than food stuck in your teeth when you give a big smile to a potential boss, client, or other important individual!

4) With #3 being said, if you are putting on a party such as the one mentioned above, why not avoid serving these messy types of foods at your event. Consider your guests when planning the appetizers or buffet meal - what will make them feel comfortable while milling around and chatting with each other.

5) Judge a fine dining restaurant by its bread. If that first course is stale or otherwise unexciting, you can be assured the rest of your meal is going to follow in the same vein. Case in point: it's a chain restaurant but still, how delicious is that bread when you first sit down at Outback Steakhouse. You just know it's going to get better and better from there.

6) Judge a sandwich shop by its Reuben. This is the king of all deli sandwiches and if a shop can't pull off a proper version of corned beef with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing on toasted rye, you are probably in the wrong place. The Reuben at The HIP Cafe in The Hammock near Flagler Beach is the best one I've had lately, made even more extraordinary by the side of pasta salad with balsamic and tomatoes.

7) When choosing a vacation at a resort or on a cruise ship, do your research on Tripadvisor and other travel sites. Look for the ratings and comments on the food. If the meals are included as an amenity, this is a component of your getaway that is of utmost importance. Think about it: what are the things you remember from that most awesome vacation you took? The activities, the people, the scenery, the fun, and the phenomenal meals. My most standout vacation experience of late included the daily breakfasts (pictured) at the lovely Cozumel Palace in Mexico, an all inclusive resort paradise that was chosen by my sister for several reasons, especially how much previous guests had raved about the food!

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