Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ignorant Food 2

(Continued from "Ignorant Food 1")

As Delores and a friend were driving to see a movie, the sky began blazing with searing orange clouds.  The view captivated both of them.  Delores observed that human beings seem to be the only animal that can be transfixed by the beauty of a sunset or marvel at the splendor of a rainbow.  Her friend thought that was an agreeable comment.

Yet, how many times do we find that people fail to direct their attention to wonders such as these?  Delores has been known to complain that she, of all the drivers on their way during a morning or afternoon rain shower, seemed to be the only one to look up at a stunning double rainbow—much less even park the car to fully take it in.

The same is true of food.  Do we fully take it in?

The German language has an interesting distinction that speaks to the manner in which food is eaten.  One word, fressen, denotes the type of eating that animals do.  It is a mechanical or desperate act, driven only by the biological need to reduce a motivational state called hunger.  The other word, essen, is meant to conjure the human act of eating.  A refined and civilized human being takes pains to make food and the manner in which it is eaten an experience of splendor.  Certainly, humanity has been at its most creative in turning food into any number of unique and memorable occasions.

But something is wrong here.  To those of us in the developed world, the production and delivery of eatables is an arrangement that is in full swing.  Food is an ever-present given in our lives.  Do we take it for granted?  Do we fully take it in?  Do we expect food and eat it automatically at the appointed times?  Do we ess or do we fress?

And this is why Delores was stunned by Nils’ sharing of the powerful idea from César Chávez.  (See Ignorant Food 1.)  Of course the farmer comes to the table three times a day!  Of course I am eating the labor of people!

Delores had her eyes opened.  She can now look at people eating and see the truth.  They are not eating the labor of people.  They are not eating the resources of the earth.  They are not eating the energy-structure of living beings.  They are not eating the ingenuity of the system.  They are not eating the generosity of friends.  They are not eating the wonder of food.  They know not what they do.

Eat your tasty food.  Fress up, happy animals.

(More at "How I Consecrate Eating")

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