Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Food for Thought

Last night we ate at a seafood restaurant. I had scallops. Chris had red fish. We had about 6 different types of oysters on the half shell. Other than knowing, geographically speaking, where the oysters originated, I really have no idea where any of my meal came from. Isn't that a bit of a crime? Or am I being dramatic?


  1. I'm going to go with dramatic, but please do not take that as a personal indictment because it is in no way one. I don't know where the chair I'm sitting on came from, or the plastic in my computer keyboard or the ink in my pen. I don't know where that beeping sound I occasionally hear in my office comes from. I'm not advocating aggressive not-knowing, but I'm saying it's a spiral bigger than food.

    There is nothing better than fresh grown food, without a doubt, but the sourcing obsession that has gripped the foodie world smacks of privilege to me. I like to get my locovore buzz on as much as anyone but I am reminded that I am also fortunate to have the free time to shop around for it and the financial means to occasionally do so. I would imagine the single mom with two kids on a secretary's salary like my mom was less concerned with provenance (and she grew up on a farm picking and canning and preparing everything they ate) than she was with there being food on the table period.

  2. I don't feel judged. But I do think it's worthwhile to consider both the origins and economy of food.

    Take the desk and the chair you mentioned. You don't literally ingest your chair or desk, and then pass on the changes in your body to your children and their children.

    A friend of Chris's, who I can assure you is in no way a foodie, has psoriasis. It's been getting worse, and when he went to the doctor recently, he was told he is allergic to gluten and a host of other things. The doctor noted that the rise of gluten allergies is directly related to the mass genetic engineering of foods and the fact that our bodies simply can't process all of the hidden manipulations in our food system.

    Have you noticed how many menus are now listing a "Gluten-free" section? Can you remember that when your were younger? When you think about it from a health perspective, then your secretary-mom and the youthful-you are directly involved in "where food comes from."

    Also, I can remember specifically, because my dad had worked in factories in Kansas before I was young, that he absolutely DID NOT want my mom buying canned foods. Yeah, they're cheap, but I do believe the question - how can we make nutrient rich-foods affordable, is important to explore.

    You are so right that a lot of the predominate public concerns smack of privilege, but I think that's part of the point, that these concerns should not smack of privilege.

    I think that this TED talk really does, by the end, speak to that issue in it's own way. And I wonder why the seems so averse to adopting the kinds of methods like the one in Spain.

    One last thought. I felt a lot of concern over whether I'd spend more at the market than at the grocery store when I started this blog, b/c for the last year and a half, we've been surviving on very little money. (I won't put the numbers out there, but I'll cross my heart and swear on whatever religious book you've got that I'm not exaggerating). Since shopping at the market each week since mid-January, I've spent less money on food, no contest. So the aspect of privilege I'm operating on at this point is education and access.

    A rambling response. But I'm thinking this all through everyday as I work on this blog. And as I eat at restaurants, shop the markets, etc.

    Anyone else have any thoughts? I would love to hear/see them.

  3. Before I was BORN, not "young." Oops.

  4. It is of course a worthy concern, and I don't doubt for a second we are headed toward a crisis about processed everything. I am of the conspiratorial mindset that the service economy will, if unchecked, kill us all unilaterally from how it processes food, money, air, water, people, careers, cultures, all of it.

    The thing that sends up flags for me, and I do not find this at all in what you have to say on the subject, is that "healthy lifestyle" is in bed, in my perspective, with elitism a lot of the time, and it's those elitists that are the most dangerous pawns in the game.

    And I will say I find your explorations here inspiring, and they help me see dig through my own BS to inch closer to the truth.

  5. I also want to add that the new OA Food issue which is sitting here barely leafed through on my desk is largely about this very topic. I'd be interested in what you think about it.

  6. I'll definitely pick up a copy. Hope it's still on the stands. Otherwise. I'll go online.