Thursday, March 26, 2009

Don't play with your food

"Don't play with your food".

I can't say how many times Mom told me that when I was a child.  Yet I said the same thing to my kids. 

In the United States we seem to do that with much more abandon than people in other cultures.  We are obssessed with food on a large scale, its production and consumption specifically.  Recently a french woman wrote a "diet" book about why french women are not as hefty as their american counterparts.  The book was all about eating to live rather than living to eat.  Oprah has given us a parade of psychologists, dieticians, and medical doctors to explain the danger of emotional, non-nutritional, and high carb/fat eating.  The slow food movement was created to inform us of the social and healthful aspects of growing and cooking our own food as well as the importance of biodiversity.

I visited our local grocery store the other day to buy a few things and found this in the produce department:

fake tomatoes

Plastic tomatoes and bell peppers.  In the PRODUCE department.  Okay, they are promoted as containers to insure your peppers or tomatoes keep fresh, but really, is this more efficient than plastic wrap or tupperware? 

Or does it feed our fascination with food play?

For a long time the US was faulted as being a small fraction of the world's populace, yet consuming most of the world's goods.  China outpaced is in 2005 and, I assume, continues to do so.  Sometimes being number 2 or 3 is truly better than being number 1.  But that does not answer the question of why we are so obsessed with playing with our food.

One of my hobbies is making hand soap in exotic scents.  I once gifted a friend with a chocolate colored and fragranced bar.  On her trip home she took a bite out of the unlabeled soap bar thinking it was a brownie!  A current trend is creating candles in edible themes.  I am sure Kathy is a wonderful lady, but why pie shaped candles

What does it say about a culture that is so awash with goods we can afford to consider a vital life component as a plaything?  It reminds me of the excesses of Roman civilization, decadent prewar Germany, or Marie Antoinette.  Perhaps we are in danger of losing the meaning of nourishment and instead promoting entertainment. 

Or maybe, just to be safe, we all need to go outside and reacquaint ourselves with the miracle of planting a seed and growing our own tomato

Homegrown tomatoes taste better anyway.

No comments: