Filed under: J500 Week 6, Society + Media | Tags: culture, family, food, friends, meals, simple meals
Sometimes when I’m in the mood for a little self-awareness, I turn to the Internet quiz. Those simple, short questionnaires are perfect for instant answers that have zero basis in scientific fact. So I opted to take a quiz designed to tell me what my food says about me.
Evidently, I’m “plain.”
“Plain,” according to the site, means “not highly cultivated, simple, natural, homely.” The homely part is unfortunate. How did they come up with that? Because I would choose to eat an apple over a mulberry? That makes no sense.
But in all other regards, that assessment is probably fair. On a day-to-day basis, my meals are simple, which is basically a result of two factors. Grad student glamor for one, meaning I have limited time and money. I’m sorry, I should be more precise: I have very limited time and money. Time is especially of the essence because when I get home for dinner I’m famished enough to eat my draperies. Which actually would not be simple at all.
Another factor is I just like simple meals. I find them satisfying and charming. Meat and potatoes? Perfection. If I’ve learned anything in my 24 years, it’s that it is never a mistake to listen to how you feel, and it just feels right to eat this way. However, while my meals are well-rounded and satisfying, there is a lot more to food than fiber and vitamins.
The food we eat effects our livelihood by nourishing our bodies and connecting to our emotions. In my case, grocery shopping and home-cooked meals make me feel responsible, healthy, and self-sufficient. Anyone who has sat around the dinner table with family or friends knows that food is much more than a solution to hunger. Good food makes us feel secure. When I come home to beef and vegetable soup, I feel settled, calm, and cared for.
That’s the magic of food. I believe that a person’s favorite meal can tell you a lot about their life. Was it a meal with friends or family? Was it formal or casual? Takeout or made at home? I would assume that most people can associate certain emotions with those different factors. Furthermore, I have noticed that people who are comfortable with food are comfortable with themselves.
Food is important to our physical health but it’s necessary for our emotional well-being too. When we’re confronted with the problems in our food system today, we need to acknowledge the gravity and depth of the issue. We should be concerned about the environment and human nutrition, but an unstable food system also implicates our cultures and our connections to other people.
When you sit down for a meal, consider what food does for you. I think you’ll realize that the importance of food is not so plain and simple.
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