Skip to main content

Making Me Think

 Subway sandwich store, Sao Paolo, by YDLR
I'm almost ready to go back to the delightful days I spent in Minnesota and share with you the sights and insights of those days. My brain is being willful, though, and won't quite let me go there at the moment.


The famine half a world away still has my thoughts pinned down. The thoughts are ones that take some of my  self-created comfort away, even as they bring me a welcome kind of awakening.  I sent a donation to Unicef, and I feel very good about that. As I watched Rozanne Chorlton, Unicef representative in Somalia, I felt quite humbled. She has the face of the perfect mother or grandmother, benevolent and radiant. She stood among the masses of people, a tangerine colored scarf covering her head, and a bulletproof vest on her torso, telling the media how important it was to keep trying to reach even beyond the thousands of desperate people swarming around her in a refugee outpost.


I was humbled by the grief on the face of the father who had walked for four days to get food for his son and did not yet know if the food would be enough and in time enough to save his son's life.


These news reports are forcing me (I say forcing, because I don't really want to follow this line of self-questioning) to look at my 21st-century, industrialized-nation relationship to food.  A relationship heavily influenced (and distorted) by advertising and accessibility.  How easy it is for me to forget the wise words of naturalist Aldo Leopold, who wrote: "Heat does not come from the furnace, and breakfast does not come from the grocery store."


I wonder if I can become more "sober" about my own relationship with food. How insane is it that at 6 p.m. I can see a newscast about thousands of starving, dying children, then go to a supermarket 10 minutes from my house and walk down an entire aisle of nothing but "chips" or make a decision for dessert between Reese's Peanut Butter Cups or Justin's Organic Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups? This is a kind of juxtaposition that can only be described as schizophrenic.


So, my questions to myself are:  When I walk down those aisles of plenty, can I remember the children, not only in Somalia, but in my own country, who suffer from lack of food, who, in fact, may be dying from lack of sustenance?  Can I see and feel the blessing of the fresh fruit, vegetables, and safe meat that I can choose from, without resorting to thinking about what kind of food I am in the "mood" to eat? Can I keep my head clear when the idiocy of the Pepperidge Farm commercial airs, the one that proclaims that "Chocolate is good for the soul."?  On days when I am "in the mood for" something other than what is already in my cupboard, can I muster the discipline to eat what I already have without going out for that one thing I don't already have?


I make a small monthly donation to my local food bank and contribute to food drives, but that does not make my own food life "clean" or my food conscience "clear." The fact that I donate to causes to help with hunger does not qualify me to ever meet a famine victim and be able to hold my head high in their suffering presence. Perhaps that is why the news reports humble me so. I don't like to admit it, but my sheer luck in life has led me to be casual and cavalier about food, to forget my dependence on a host of factors and people, to see food exactly as Aldo Leopold advised me not to, thinking of my local supermarket as an ongoing fountain of comestibles (whose price increases are also ongoing).


Well, I have asked the questions now. Only time will tell how well I am able to live the answers.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Adventure to Anarctica this Spring

You're invited to my friend Robert Greeson's exhibit of images from Antartica. Enjoy the other-wordly beauty and wonder of this part of the globe in perfect, central-air comfort. I bet they will even have refreshments on opening night. Don't miss it!

Saturday, March 27
7 to 10 p.m.
Kettle Art Gallery
2714 Elm Street
Dallas, Texas 75226

Children welcome!

A Cat, a Dog, and Shakespeare: The Perfect Sunday Afternoon

One reason I keep paying a cable bill is to be able to watch Turner Classic Movies. I had just finished a batch of Sunday chores and was resting a moment on the couch, wedged between Chatterly the cat and Gypsy the dog (an Australian Kelpie), and saw that TCM was about to air Julius Caesar, directed by Joseph Mankiewicz, and produced in 1953. 


I read Julius Caesar for the first time when I was in sixth grade. It was a great time to read it, because it seemed fresh and real to me, even though some of the centuries-old English was challenging. 


The movie made me wish that Joseph Mankiewicz had directed more of Shakespeare's works for cinema. The balance the movie strikes is oh, so totally just right. It does not go so far into cinematic territory that we lose the work's theatricality, but travels far enough by camera that it provides a sense of seamless reality only a movie can create.  The casting was brilliant.  James Mason was at his best as Brutus, and he carries the film on h…

Booked on Sugar

Sometimes the television remote control finds the channel for Destiny. I believe I was indeed destined to see Marc Aronson'sand Marina Buddhos's presentation to students at the Brooklyn Public Library based on their recent book, SugarChanged the World. Their program certainly changed my world. While written for a youth audience, this is a book that adults will enjoy, and naturally, a great book for parents to share with their children.

I often wonder at the parallels between drug addiction and food addiction in our culture. I know I'm not alone in this. You can't miss the similarities:  "Betcha can't eat just one.  Crave the crunch. Do you dream in chocolate? Hershey chocolate is bliss."  And, as noted in my earlier posts on  Super Bowl ads, when you see a man "snorting" Dorito crumbs .... well, I rest my case.

I've also thought about how quickly we "judge" people with substance abuse problems while the US clearly suffers from foo…