Friday, November 9, 2012

International Tastes

So proud to be an American! Thank God I live in this country! I might look poor standing next to Rich Sister, but compared to the other half of the world? Puh-leeze! 

Unlike so many other  places in the world where a person might look at their scrawny dog, drool and think  "I just can't face another bowl of rice...... what else is there to fill this hole in my stomach? What else can I eat?", we have different foods on our table every night. It's like the kitchen is a magic portal, always there to satisfy whatever fussy little craving we have. And that food is almost always a reflection of another country: Pizza (Italy), Stir Fry (Asia), Tacos (Mexico), Curry (India) and Hot Dogs (Soviet Gulag). 

One hundred years ago, you ate what was in season. You ate it baked. You ate it fried. You pickled it. You ENDURED it because you had no choice. In Michael Pollan's book, "Omnivore's Dilemma" he shows how modern humans are overwhelmingly victimized and placated by the industrial food complex. It's getting worse because food is getting cheaper and the competition for your dollar is getting more aggressive. 

Little Caesar's in downtown San Mateo started offering a large pizza for $5. Where in the world can you possibly get a decent pizza for 5 bucks? Nowhere, really. Total crap. But if you HAD to have a pizza and only had 5 bucks (and you had no taste buds because of a tragic disease where your taste buds were sacrificed to save your life) you could go and get yourself a pizza! I almost want to ask the people waiting around for their orders to come up "Have you actually tasted one of these? Do you think there's any dairy in the 'cheese topping'? How can you tell the crust from the cardboard circle? Ever eaten it by accident and didn't notice?" The only people waiting for those pizzas are poor Mexican families and their pudgy children. An all carbohydrate diet is generally cheaper, but this tasteless, high caloric fat bomb is just the ticket to childhood obesity. Getting fat on food that tastes crappy? What a rip off!  Fat and tasteless! Oh, how unfair. Full does not always mean satisfied.

I suppose my point is that even the poor among us can find SOMETHING. I can make black beans into something really special with an onion, a can of stewed tomatoes and some spices. All for under $5. My daughter has "issues" with leftovers and so this stuff gets frozen and reappears (like magic!) with tortillas a week later. And it's a cheap protein, baby.

Meanwhile, in Sub-Saharan Africa, a woman mixes grain with water and boils this into a broth that she can ladle into her starving child. 

This world could just tip over and spin off into space for the lack of balance. 

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