Friday, August 23, 2013

Eating like kings and queens

Warning. Soap box-esque thoughts forthcoming.

Over the past few weeks, I've become increasingly aware of a stigma that at the very least used to exist (not sure if it still does, for various reasons) against homemade bread (and other homemade things too, I'm sure). At least three different people (either in real life, book, or facebook comment) have mentioned things like,
"Of course we were poor so we had to eat homemade bread. Our mother made everything."
"It was always a treat to get things from the bakery. Otherwise we always had homemade."
"Kids at lunch would never trade sandwiches with me, because our bread was homemade."

Excuse me, what?!? What kind of backwards society do we live in where homemade bread is not seen as superior in every way possible? Healthier, better ingredients, tasty, inexpensive and easy to make, etc. The only drawbacks I can think of are that some people have a fear of working with yeast, and some people don't have time (or don't think they have time) to make bread. Making bread is time consuming, especially if you want bread RIGHT NOW. Sorry, you'll have to wait, or plan better next time. And think of all the things you can get done while the bread is rising.

This sort of thinking of course applies to other things as well. So many other things are so much better (in most ways) when they are made from scratch, at home. Now before you stop reading this blog because you think I'm the most pretentious person on the planet, please realize that I don't think that people who eat a certain way are better or worse than people who eat a different way. Human value is not based on what we eat, and in general, people are not better or worse than each other, just different. Secondly, it is weird how stigmas work. On one hand there is a stigma against homemade bread, and on the other hand, people who make their own bread are now somehow better (and also worse, because of the stigma). It does not even make sense. Let's be logical here.

All this to say, I've been thinking lately about how a sign of poverty in our (first world) times can be seen not in how many people have things to eat, and not in how little people have to eat (little in amount, not as a descriptor of people), but in the quality of food, and the amount of non-foods that pass as food these days.

A while back we went to a waffle-feed. Hundreds of waffles were consumed (by hundreds of people). I have no idea what was in the waffles, perhaps they were made from scratch, or perhaps a mix (just add water), so I can't speak for them. But I can speak for the toppings that were offered. When I eat waffles at home, I like to top the savory waffles off with some sour cream and eat alongside other savory items like bacon or eggs. I like to eat non-savory waffles topped with yogurt and blueberries and bananas. At this particular waffle-feed, the options were....plentiful in a way, and severely SEVERELY lacking in other ways. The options for toppings were all (only) available in gigantic containers with pumps. Pumpable butter product, and about a dozen different syrups, all but one containing high fructose corn syrup as its first or second ingredient. Even the "maple syrup" was made of high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors and flavors. I think it was technically (and legally) labelled maple FLAVORED syrup. It just turns me off, people. This is not food. This is a sign of severe poverty.

Yes, hundreds of people got to eat. Yes, it maybe even tasted good (though I only had one pump of the pecan flavored syrup...the only one without high fructose corn syrup anywhere on the ingredients tasted fine, though real pecans would've been even tastier, obviously). But why is this acceptable in our society? Do we suffer from the poverty of being too poor to buy/serve/eat real ingredients? Do we suffer from the poverty of lack of knowledge about what we put into our body? If it is artificial anything, why do we call it food?

The bread you buy at the store has a million ingredients (real, artificial, necessary, and filler) in it, but apparently it is a sign of poverty if your mom has to make you bread.

I just don't get it.

Rant over.

Not my picture. Why on earth do we call this food?

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