Originally uploaded by sciencedave
There are a lot of things that I ate as a kid that I wouldn't dream of consuming today. Lucky Charms cereal leaps to mind. Vienna sausage. Ho Ho's. Choc Cola. Yoo Hoo. "Chocolate" covered donuts.
I can't quite find time to be the epicurian that I would like to be. Leaving aside preparing gourmet dishes, I find it difficult to find time to prepare even simple homemade fare, which makes me sad in a way that I find surprising and unexpected.
I'm not talking about being some sort of strident food fanatic. To find myself thinking seriously about my 'relationship' to food is a bit touchy-feely for me. I tend to be suspicious of that kind of facile emotionalism, especially when it comes to something so central to life. While I am not begrudging anyone their own choices, I don't have the patience to be vegetarian, even if I were so inclined, which I am not. Veganism is a slightly different matter, in that seems determined to convert others- it strikes me the same way snake-handling pentecostalism does, as something that probably started harmless, if goofy, that ended up going horribly awry. I dotake exception to especially self-righteous food-nazi's trying to make decisions for everyone else.
I recognize that food is a huge business, and there's plenty of yin and yang involved in it. Yes, it is a corporate behemoth that is driven by nothing but profit. But without it, and mechanized and chemically supported agriculture, most experts believed that we were headed for massive starvation by the early 1980s(some of these same prophets of doom wished openly for this- any considerations about environment notwithstanding, these are self-worshipping, racist moral cripples). I shudder when I hear anyone use the word 'sustainable' in front of agriculture, because most of the plans I have seen sacrifice the lives of brown people in far away countries on the altar of an eco-utopianism practiced by vapid SUV-driving soccer moms. Sure, there is plenty to decry in mechanized, industrial agriculture, but it is still fucking creepy to wish for the deaths of a large fraction of humankind.
Yet there is something sort of soul-killing about all the prefab crap that makes up the diet of so many of us. Stuff we know isn't good, but that we can't quite figure out how to escape. Stuff that mocks the idea that we ought to be eating good stuff with people we like. Preferably at less than 90 miles an hour.
I am a pretty good cook. When I can find time, I can put together a tasty meal from fresh ingredients that leaves us wondering why we ever do anything else. Which we promptly forget until sometime a month or so down the road when one of us has the time to do the same thing again.
I'm not going to preach against Pop Tarts or Mountain Dew. Despite my anxiety expressed above, I think that this sort of food is inevitable, given our values, and not altogether bad. But given the path of least resistance provided to us in the form of processed, prepared and packaged gustatory delights, we have to make a conscious effort to include things that are more appropriate.
I started my children eating fruit and vegetables at a very young age. Both are avid munchers of apples and raisins and so on, and are not completely seduced by junk. But they'll eat garbage with just as much enthusiasm as bananas, so I have to make the effort to keep the good stuff available.
The drive to pack as much into the day as possible is taking a toll, and disrupting an important part of life. I'm not precisely sure how to alter things, but it's my nature to experiment.