Monday, August 24, 2009

Some Quick Observations on Food:

I have so many thoughts I would love to blog on, and for which I especially regret the lack of time to "think aloud" by writing them out. I have had so many questions and thoughts related to topics such as the health care debate, our current economy, our society, politics, etc.,. Theological ponderings I have had lately have been about prayer, God's sovereignty, and so on... Thoughts I do want to share at some point as I (hopefully) find/make time to do so. For now I'll happily point to other blogs/articles/videos that I have enjoyed and found to be useful, and then add my thoughts to them as I can.

First up, this blog post on food by Douglas Wilson. My quick thoughts: I love fresh, home cooked/baked food. It is my preferred meal unless a restaurant somehow manages to do better (which is rare). I love using organic when possible, but must admit that it's expensiveness makes it a luxury I can't often afford. Should I feel guilty then for buying from the corporate owned grocery store down the street what I couldn't buy from Whole Foods Market? I mean, at least I'm buying fruits and vegetables - isn't something better than nothing? You would think so, and yet I know people who are so dogmatic about their organics and their avoidance of corporate-owned stores that they refuse to shop at any place and eat anything that isn't to their personal standard of organic/natural.

My book club met at Starbucks last Saturday evening. The baristas, during a break from the store's busyness, created a tray of bite-sized sandwiches and pastries for us, then brought it over to serve us. I took one (as did my mom and sister), not because I was especially hungry and wanted the bacon and gouda on whole wheat, but because I wanted to show gratitude for their kind effort to serve us. The rest of our group refused the food because it was "corporate" and not from a local source. While I love supporting local businesses (again, when I can), I came away from our meeting with the strongest desire to not be so dogmatic about food that I can never enjoy what is offered to me by someone else who may not hold to my standard of eating. There is so much freedom in being able to see both sides, supporting local business when possible, eating organic when available and affordable, but never feeling guilty if unable to do it and you're forced to shop at (gasp) Target or Wal-Mart. Food is a gift from God, one that we can take pleasure in and enjoy, but it is, like the air we breathe, for our survival more than for our pleasure.

Another quick observation: food refusal often occurs in dieters as well, and I have seen co-workers bake a time-consuming dessert to share at work, only to have 80% of the other co-workers refuse to eat any of it (not even a small, tiny piece) because they were "trying to lose weight". My question: at what point do we become slaves to our food, not so much in consuming, but in not-consuming because of our vanity? Has eating/not eating become a form of idolatry in America? Really, does it ever hurt to just take a piece of something someone has prepared for you and eat it and be thankful for it? (I am not talking to people who would refuse something based on dietary restrictions, i.e,. people with diabetes) Will it make you gain 20 pounds to eat a small piece of cake once when the rest of the time you do a good job of watching what you eat? The same applies to organic foodies: will it really give you cancer to just eat a small piece of something that has preservatives once in a while, especially when it's a rare occurrence for you to do it anyway?

In conclusion: I am not advocating organic vs. non-organic, or corporate vs. local. There is so much to be explored in the food source argument. What I am advocating is a thoughtful approach to food vs. a dogmatic one. Eat organic if you want, buy locally if you want. Eat food with pesticide residue if you want, and shop at the corporate-owned store if that's what you prefer. Be informed but be careful. Please just don't be the kind of person who can't ever enjoy food. Simply eat and be thankful. :)

No comments: