Blog Action Day 2011: Food
by Nic Olson
Eating food makes a monumental statement.
I can tell many things about a person based on what foods are on his or her plate at the beginning of a meal, and how much is left on his or her plate at the end of the meal. The variety, the amount, the colour, the condiments. That being said, what is on my plate coincides directly with my personality, weak-willed and often spicy.
Arriving at Primetime on a Sunday afternoon with a cream cheese container of chana was a common Sunday afternoon activity last year. We would sit around talking about how much Courtney misses pizza, and how good Jacynthe’s perogies are, and compare the sesame seed bagels from down the street. We would tell stories of mothers and grandmothers and vegan delights and how we enjoy our diets luxuriously and also frugally. The afternoon would always end up with me walking in the rain to Pizza du Parc or the depanneur or the PA for some snacking to accompany the yellowed popcorn and flat and stale beer.
In all the time we spend talking about food, and all the time we spend preparing, eating and gathering around it, we usually spend more time talking about how much more we ate than we should’ve, or the colour and shape of our faecal matter. We often neglect to talk about how eating a ‘balanced diet’ is undoubtedly excessive and irresponsible. We neglect to talk about the 300 families standing in line on Winnipeg Street waiting for moldy bread and deformed potatoes. We ignore the fact that we eat meat and desserts for nothing more than our own personal satisfaction when they are either cruel, unhealthy or completely unnecessary for survival. We dance around our prepackaged food dishes, plastic wrapped and microwave friendly foods that are more chemically based and chromosome shifting than actually nourishing. We label those who eat differently as idealist hippies looking for attention. We eat selfishly.
The privileged are no longer in a position to eat only for enjoyment or survival. We must now eat to make a statement. We must now eat to make a difference. By skipping meals, reducing or eliminating our meat intake, eating locally, donating to food banks, sharing with family and friends, and eating less, we can show exactly how much of an impact our three times a day routine can have. Like most things that we have in abundance, an abuse of these: food, technology, electricity, water, is an insult to those around the world that lack them. It is ignorant to say that we are blessed to live in a land with an abundance of food and take it no further than that. We must realize our extreme fortune and change our bad habits of excess and waste and then we must share with others.
Food is meant to be enjoyed but not abused. We must eat with our brains and not with our mouths. And if we decide to actually eat brains, then we must do so in moderation, and we must consider those without an abundance of brains to be eaten.
This year I donated to help in the East African Food Crisis through Oxfam.ca.