What we need in this country is a good ol’ famine

I’m not going to name names because I didn’t ask the guy at the next table over at breakfast what his was but here is his order nearly verbatim:

            Eggs over medium

            Bacon crisp

            Wheat toast with real butter

            Coffee black but bring cream and sugar

            Glass of water no ice

Ever been out to dinner with someone who needs a dissertation on the food they’re being offered or sat there as they gave a thesis on how they wanted their food prepared?  I have.  It’s tiring and a little silly and I’m not even the waiter/waitress trying to get it all down.  The bottom line is we have too many choices.

Been down the cracker aisle in the grocery store lately (like there’s a cracker aisle anywhere else)?  Check out how many ways you can get your saltine crackers.  If you can’t find at least six different varieties of a cracker you’re going to crush and put in your soup you’re clearly being underserved by your grocer.  We’ve become a society drunk on options.

Ask anyone who’s ever programmed a cash register to allow for all the variations on food at a restaurant (I’ve done this BTW).  I’ll admit when I did this nearly 20 years ago for my late father in law I was shocked at the different ways people would order their bacon, hash browns and even salad.  It seems like we’ve added a few things to the Bill of Rights.  Apparently along with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is the right to have your food with any type of variation you can imagine.

Want gummy worms on your pancakes?  Done.  Pizza with extra Skittles?  Done Crazy Eyes (Mr. Deeds reference).  How about we save you the agony of waiting for the ice to melt in your water or the pain of having to drink around the ice (what a hassle!) and we’ll just leave that nasty ice out?  We can do that and we will!  Because, you know, Bill of Rights.  I’ve heard of lettuce salads ordered with dressing on the side, no croutons, no olives, and no carrots.  How about they just bring the head of lettuce out, plop it on the table in front of you and give you a steak knife to cut it up yourself?  Oh yeah, they do, it’s called a wedge salad.  See how they get around all that hucklebuck?  When will it all end?  I think I know; when we get good and hungry sometime.

I’ve never seen a person in the middle of a famine request that the rice delivered by aid workers be gluten free.  No one in the desert during a years-long drought requests non-GMO wheat or hormone free, cage free chicken.  They just don’t do it and you know why?  Because they’re hungry.  Those people have figured out that food is not a choice or an event or something to bring them pleasure.  Food is fuel.  Food is sustenance to stay alive and keep your family alive and give your body the energy it needs to keep going.  Their next meal could very literally be, “to die for” because if they don’t get it, they might.  Those folks have every right to be freaked out about their food but not whether it’s al dente or humanely raised from happy animals.  They’re freaked out because they desperately need it to survive.

I think we need a little of that here in our country.  We need to get over ourselves and our “tastes” and our pickiness just a little bit.  I realize I’m on my soapbox here and if you’d ask my family, especially my kids, they’d say, “There he goes again” as they roll their eyes but I don’t think our temperament will change until we go through some type of food event.  I don’t think any amount of haranguing by me or anyone else is going to make the impression enough about our privilege and put food in its proper place which is hopefully lying there on the plate and soon to be in our bellies.  It’s simple.  At least it ought to be.

Realizing I’ve just alienated everyone who may even remotely call themselves a “foodie” I have to say I’m not sorry or ashamed; that’s just the way I roll.  If you agree and think someone you know needs to dial back their preoccupation with food, please share this with them.

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