Saturday, March 3, 2012

So what's the fuss about?

"Food is an important part of a balanced diet."
-Fran Lebowitz

Famed American author, social commentator, Warhol-approved columnist, and style icon Lebowitz couldn't have said it better. Sardonic she may be, she clearly put across how we see food in today's deranged world. Bluntly put, food's but an essential part of life which many have grown blase to. This is especially true if one lives in an urban environment greatly detached from farms, oceans, and nature in general. With all the advancements in GMO farming, agriculture, food logistics, refrigeration, packaging, marketing, and so on, comes a heavy price of a generation with limited knowledge--or worse, limited interest-- in food. Food, to many, has become cheap, abundant and part of going through the motions of everyday life. Needless to say, what you don't know, you don't treasure. This, I believe, is one of the greatest tragedies of the modern world.

Just earlier this week, I witnessed my new flatmate cook fried rice with diced up--wait for it-- DOG FOOD SAUSAGE. My jaw dropped when I saw him toss that pile of sausage meat--perfectly cubed, no less-- into his wok. True, he may be new to this country, not familiar with the language and what's offered at the supermarkets. But having little or no will and common sense to read the label of the roll of sausage before AND after buying it just goes to show how little interest he shows in his food. 

Exhibit A: NOT for (human) fried rice

DAFUQ?! He what...?!

It wouldn't take a lot, however, to change this. If everyone would just take a moment every day to ponder a little on food; be it the ingredients at the supermarket, the farmer/grocer at the market, or even the uni-student-moonlighting-as-a-waiter at the local cafe, it could encourage a somewhat positive mindset. It may not be a lot to start with but it sure is a beginning. Think of the history and origins of food, why certain dishes are cooked the way they are cooked, how everyday consumer choices can affect farmers and traders thousands of miles away. The value and impact of food should never be underestimated. Indeed, food conjures up many images in our daily lives. Far from being a just a source of nutrition and energy, it brings people together, sparks debates, provides emotional support, brings back childhood memories, and even decides on the fates of famished nations. In short, food can change the world and (major cliche alert!) make it a better place, if we allow it to.

So is food worth fussing about? Definitely yes. If anything, it's for your freaking balanced diet!

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