There are only two areas in my life that I have good taste – and I’m OK with that. One is music, and the other is food. I see both as cross cultural; that is, not only you can enjoy music and food from another culture, you can actually learn something about that culture by the experience of enjoying it. They are bridges. They bring people together and that warms the heart of this Anthropology major.
Early on in my blog, I took my kids all over town in a “Tasty Tuesday” series. It’s so important to me that they learn not to be afraid other tastes. We have so many food choices. Not just ‘good’ and ‘bad’; but year-round availability made possible by incredible logistics and shelf stabilizers. Traditional food can’t make use of this technology though; and since different food is grown in different seasons in different areas of the world; food is as varied as cultures.
I don’t know if this is true, but it occurred to me that if my children learned early on not to be afraid of someone’s food, that’s one step closer to not being afraid of that person. If they learn to have a well-rounded palate and the fortitude to try a new, freaky looking food, not only might they actually like it, they will see the world as a more interesting, accessible place where they are both comfortable, and respectful.
I really want, as Michael Pollan says, to “eat real food, not too much, mostly plants”. So simple; but so difficult. Food technology affords so many choices. But the technology and subsidy policies that make cheap and readily available food-like substances will not sustain a human body. I have been trying with all my might to nourish my children, and to teach them to be unafraid of real food whether it is familiar to their culture or not.
There is no end to the information available about what to eat. It’s overwhelming and for some people, consuming. I thought this article Is Food a New Religion and was just sad. I see food as a connector. This article made me really see that some people see food as a divider – the same way some supposedly religious people can be the most hurtful, judgemental people you’ll ever meet.
Eating ‘real food, not too much and mostly plants’ is not only a way to experience other cultures though, it is also a way to care for the one thing we all share – the Earth. Not only do we share it with each other, we share it with future generations and owe it to them not to destroy all of the resources they need to produce food for themselves. The coal mine accident this week has been a gruesome reminder of what the ‘cost’ of cheap food can really be. It takes a lot of fossil fuels to produce, transport, and package food the way most of us (myself included) eat most of our food today. Eating real food can connect us, with other people and with our great great grandchildren. Teach your children well.
This post was submitted for “The Food & Faith Challenge” on The Local Cook.