The eating considerations in my household consists of: two asthmatic sons, a daughter who doesn’t eat meat (for ethical reasons), a husband who is a laser focused athlete who doesn’t eat pork and me…well… I consider all of the above with a heap of auto immune dysfunction. To say that we give our food serious consideration is an understatement.
So why is that when I read this in an email about a workshop I was scheduled to attend at a local college did I find myself doing a fist pump?
We will provide all materials and lunch as well. Pizza, salad, and drinks will be provided. Please feel free to bring a bagged lunch if you need to accommodate dietary restrictions.
This is what it said to me:
Get over yourselves. Our goal is to provide you with what you need to write a good grant. We are not going to even attempt to address the over the top food expectations Americans have come to find normal to request.
Well, because the mother of said children who houses one really funky gut is over it.
I probably won’t eat your bacon or your burger if I don’t know the story behind it and I bring new meaning to the word ‘gut check’ when it comes to eating breads and such. But you will never find me making a food request or insulting the choices made by others. I will eat what’s prepared or I’ll offer to bring my own with enough to share.
My oldest son did an internship at Elm Street Gardens last summer. A beautiful organic farm in one of the poorest areas of our state. He was able to see first hand how limited access to food affects people’s decisions. He harvested vegetables and processed chicken and meat. He and his fellow interns were given a share of eggs and as much vegetables as they wanted but very little meat. There just really wasn’t any extra meat. A few of the students with him identify as vegan and they actually had a hard time being limited to just vegetables in the garden. They were used to buying prepackaged items at the grocery store. “Ma… Have you ever considered how much of what people eat is a complete indulgence? Hungry people just don’t have that privilege.”
As I find myself experiencing different aspects of our food system, I understand better why it was important to my parents that I graciously accepted food that was prepared for me by others. A screw face response to something I found distasteful most assuredly got me ‘dealt with’ later. In some cases, giving to me meant less for their family. If I didn’t like it/couldn’t eat it I’d better come up with a creative way to make sure they never knew it!
How on Earth did we come go from that to making food request when we accept an invitation?
Regardless of our specific choices surrounding food, we should be thankful for the loving intent that comes when people share.
I decided not to brown bag it and graciously accept the lunch selection at the event mentioned above. Actually… I was running late and only had time to grab a bag of trail mix. When it was time to eat, I was thrilled to see a glorious salad prepared by the culinary students with vegetables grown by the urban agriculture students.
But wait… Did he just say let’s let the vegans go first because there are just a few shiitakes?
Well, damn. lol.