Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Note On Food

I started to write my column for work, but I realized that perhaps I was getting a bit too cynical for a fluff piece. Still....I think it is half-way worth sharing.


Food.

It’s a simple word. A simple idea: Food is fuel for our bodies.

But that thought is old hat now, isn’t it? Food has become a philosophy, not a fundamental.

It’s a hobby.

A passion.

A career.

An indulgence.

An enemy.

We bravely battle an obesity epidemic with billions of dollar spent on pills, trainers, lipo and tummy tucks- saying things like ‘real women have curves’ while we lust after the body of some ‘skinny bitch’, (never mind if she has to endure an eating disorder to maintain it).

Our stomachs churn if our boneless, skinless chicken breast is undercooked, but our appetite remains unaffected by the image of a bony, skinny, underweight child. That kid is the problem of some third world country, not the good ol’ U S of A.

Food is fast becoming a form of judgment.

We used to scoff at the woman using the salad fork for her entrĂ©e…now we sneer at the woman eating anything but a salad.

Food has become controversial. The new bourgeois is the farmer who wants to turn a profit, who uses modern technology to keep up with our demands instead of working the land with his hands.

We talk about the food revolution- how my choice to buy only locally raised, handpicked produce and free range beef from the co-op makes me more enlightened than the dumb schmucks who hardly think twice about the mass produced, genetically modified corn they pick up from the grocery store and serve to their family.

.....and that's all I had before I realized the black hole that was forming.

Food is a difficult topic for me to get a handle on. I'm from a farming family that is living in an anti-'farming' pro-'farm' era. This culture is really no different than any other 'supply & demand' guilt trip in America- we want what we want and we want it now. We'll condemn the supplier to no end and demand that they change their ways, but we don't want our prices to increase, our supplies to deplete, or our routines to change in any way that might inconvenience us.

That cycle isn't exclusive to food production, either. Let's examine food consumption. No sugar, no carbs, no dairy, no gluten, no meat....but we want everything to taste as if none of that was missing. We say NO to genetically modified food that grows bigger produce, and yet- we hardly bat an eye at the chemically modified crap we consume every day: artificial sweeteners, preservatives, food dyes, etc etc the list goes on. Sure, we complain about those things and we feign disgust at the thought of these things...but all those thoughts are out the door when we're in the drive-thru, at the concession stand, or out to dinner.

Food has turned into a no-win situation. Growing, preparing, consuming....there's nothing simple about any of that anymore. 

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