“In 1900, the typical American woman spent six hours a day in food prep and cleanup. By last year, Americans on average took 31 minutes a day.”
This is a quote from an article which appeared on AlterNet recently, which I would recommend as a good “reinforcement” read.
Just think about it for a second. 31 minutes a day on something as important as food.
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(Don't you just love convenience?)
Food sustains us, keeps us strong and healthy (if we choose the right food anyway), and is a part of our social connection with each other. Mealtimes used to be a communal activity which brought families and friends together around the dining table to enjoy the simple pleasures of sharing food, ideas, thoughts and experiences.
We all know the reality of the rushed society we live in today; the imperatives of money and perceived need that drives us to work more than we rest and rest working. Responsibilities as time-consuming and labour-intensive as the preparation of food have been abrogated to those more functionally efficient at it.
The PepsiCo’s and McDonald’s of the world don’t have to concern themselves with the social or human aspects of food. They don’t see eating as an experience that should last beyond the last masticated mess of Big Mac to pass down the oesophagus. So they are admirably suited to produce fodder for the masses.
Plenty of other people around the world value food for far different reasons.
• More than 840 million people in the world are malnourished — 799 million of them live in the developing world.
• More than 153 million of the world's malnourished people are children under the age of 5.
• Six million children under the age of 5 die every year as a result of hunger.
Given the highly corporatized and manipulative system of food production and distribution that we have in the world today, these depressing figures are not likely to change much in the near future.
So doesn’t that behove those of us who don’t have to be concerned about the lack of food in our daily lives, (at least for the present), to value it more.
Taking the time to grow, or seek out and prepare real food, and share it with those who are important in my life, is one of the things I value the most. It grieves me when someone close to me demonstrates the extent of the brainwashing with a preference for grease and GMO from the nearest fast food outlet over my latest, lovingly prepared Italian feast.
OK so maybe I’m not the greatest chef in the world, but at least I have learned more in my journey through the world of food prep than how to shake the deep fryer basket.
When you truly appreciate food, you also begin to think about it more. How is it grown, where, by whom? What happens to it then? How does it get to my plate? How does all that affect me and my environment? Do I care?
The answer almost inevitably becomes “Yes. I do care.”
Perhaps that’s the point.
Copyright2009, Angela Lovell.