Sunday, 20 February 2011

if you get bored with food, you better go and play around on facebook

at a party tonight, (my sister's, if you want to know) we were talking about food and food being my favourite one of my favourite subjects, i was having a grand old time. i mentioned how crazy it is that we who live in the western world, with an embarrassment of riches, seem to be the ones who eat badly. how crazy it is that we will pay money to learn to eat less! my friend, jenny suggested that in the places where poverty is known people will make more effort to make good food. i hadn't thought about it in those terms before and was momentarily bamboozled but of course she is right. if poverty is a daily companion there is no money to spend on frivolous pursuits so it would make sense that a necessity would also be used as a creative outlet, it would mean that if there is enough money to put good food on the table it will be treated with some reverence, it will be treated as a luxury or a privilege. no poor person is going to be producing show-offy dishes that cost a fortune, they are going to do a simple thing and do it as well as possible. broadening the argument a little, i have been known to get on a soapbox about the way people i listen to every day resent paying a fair price for their everyday essentials. they want cheap food, cheap petrol, cheap clothes and cheap utilities. they want these things to be cheap so they can have more money to spend on entertainment, travel, flash cars, bigger houses and expensive hair -dos. there is nothing wrong with wanting those things, i like them too but i think that as a society we tend to make mistakes with priorities. i think that one of the reasons we eat rubbishy food (and i am not going to pretend this is a simple issue) is because we lose sight of how fundamental our food is. familiarity has bred contempt. if more of us occasionally wondered where our next meal might come from we might have a whole new attitude. we might eat more seasonally, we might eat less, we might eat more vegetables and think of creative ways to reduce waste. we might eat more like the chinese or the greeks or the italians.


  1. That's a very good point about our warped priorities. Yes, why not spend more on food and have really delicious meals rather than wanting to spend more on the luxuries we could easily cut down on? Jenny and I certainly spend a lot on food to get the tastiest ingredients. And actually there's nothing more luxurious than delicious food, good wine and intelligent conversation.

  2. nick, you got it!
    if we put more effort into our food and the company we share it with, we might not try so hard to find fulfilment in other "stuff"

  3. Lately Sarge and I have agreed that, although we're paring down in all other quarters of our lives, we're going to look for good food ingredients and not skimp on that. It can be fun to think about food in a more wholesome and holistic way, actually. I've become much more mindful about it in the past year or two...

  4. leah,
    i think it's a wonderful thing to eat good food at least some of the time. having said all that, i would like to think that i understand the financial pressures on many. the people who get me going are privileged, middle class, grown children.....

    how is the "paring down" going? i bet you dont miss much?

  5. Hebrews 13:5

    Don't fall in love with money.
    Be satisfied with what you have.

    Similar sentiments in:-
    1Timothy 6:8,9

  6. This is a very thought provoking interesting post. Another reason that people don't take the time to savour fresh, simple ingredients is because often these days life is so hectic, that they don't take the time to set the table and eat together. I know a family who eat in their car 2-3 times a week because of their children's activities schedule. Fast food has become a metaphor for a life robbed of essential ingredients in more ways than one.

  7. nana jo,
    life is hectic and i know that as well as anybody. i have known my kids to eat in the car, too. it's all a balance thats sometimes hard to get right.
    i think of, say , bread. it costs more to eat a better bread but it's more nourishing on a couple of levels and the time taken to make the sandwich is the same. it takes a minute or two to put porridge in the microwave, not much longer than pouring a bowl of sugary cereal.
    i'm straying from my original point now but we make some odd choices, dont we?

  8. Well as a fellow foodie, I've never scrimped on quality but I must admit I despair sometimes at the food I throw away either because we've lost our appetites or forgotten it's there. I miss Harris Farm markets being underneath the office where I used to work. I bought fresh every day, it was so easy.

  9. baino,
    i try hard not to chuck stuff out but i do find stuff festering at the back of the fridge.
    i read that every one of us could buy an ipad on the value of the food we throw out each year

  10. Well put Kylie and it touches on so much more than food. We complain about how long a church service is on any given Sunday, not thinking of those who have no choice of religion; we complain about the costs of health care while countless millions have access - to none.

    I tend to buy, cook and eat my food simply prepared and leftovers don't really exist because I refuse to be wasteful (mindful of so many who live hungry each day) and will ultimately finish everything off.

    I was fortunate to grow up in a home where I learned the art of being grateful. As such there is very little I will not eat because I AM grateful. Something overdone to my liking? No problem - I'm grateful and eat it.

    Ultimately your post comes down to just two words: Be grateful.

    Whether you eat alone or with a large family - sit down, appreciate the food, eat slowly, talk, take some time to laugh over a funny texting, no television.....And of course please give at least a passing thought to those in this world who can only dream of what you're doing.

  11. mike,
    i didnt think of this post in terms of gratitude or lack thereof, you drew perspective on that to a fine point!
    (thats probably the wrong metaphor but i think you understand)

    i agree that everything is better viewed through a grateful outlook and as some of the richest people in the world, what do we really have to complain about.

    thanks for your comprehensive comments, you should have used them as your very own post!


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