Physician, Feed Thyself …

This post first appeared on The Blog That Ate Manhattan.

All this medical food blogging has gotten me to thinking about the similarities between chefs and doctors.

What is the same

1. They’ve got the whites and the chef’s hat, we’ve got the greens and the caps and masks.

2. Both require intensive training with a clear hierarchy of ascent.

3. The chef and the surgeon are captains of their respective ships – the kitchen and the OR.

4. Skill with sharp instruments is necessary for both professions.

5. We both work long hours, including nights and weekends.

6. If we both do our jobs right, our clients walk out feeling better than when they walk in.

7. We have JCAHO, they have Frank Bruni.

8. A knowledge of organic and biochemistry is essential in both cooking and medicine.

9. Medicine and the culinary arts have many aphorisms and truths: For example, “If you hear hoofbeats, it’s a horse, not a zebra.” and “The oven can wait for the cake, the cake can’t wait for the oven”.

10. Classic texts: We have Williams Obstetrics, they have Lourousse Gastronomique.

11. Clogs. We love ‘em.

What is not the same:

1. Doctors should not take care of family members, but chefs should (and do) cook at home

2. They don’t have to worry about malpractice.

3. They cause food poisoning, we cure it.

4. Iron Surgeon? Nah, it’d never fly…

5. We only talk about food (“A fibroid the size of a grapefruit”).

6. We call a thymus a thymus. They call it sweetbreads.

7. We call it fatty liver disease and treat it with a low fat diet and exercise. They call it Fois gras and treat it like a delicacy.

8. Let’s see…Clients leaving restaurants pay a $20 co-pay and their dining out insurance picks up 80% of the reasonable and customary cost of their meal? Hmm…

Margaret Polaneczky is a board certified obstetrician-gynecologist and Associate Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. You can follow her at The Blog That Ate Manhattan where this post first appeared.

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