There can be a tendency to take a much-polarised view of the world; an either-or approach that colours our lives in every aspect, from the politics we follow to the food we eat. If we don’t belong in one camp or another or choose one thing above another, then we are clearly uninformed or, even worse, sitting on the fence. But systems are complicated. Life is complicated. This affects that, which in turn impacts the other; things are very rarely black or white.
In recent years, food has become the new celebrity. Gawked at, pinned, and gracing every glossy in the country, the food that we eat has never been under such scrutiny. Every aspect of the food chain has gone under the microscope and appears to have split us into two camps; foodies, and purely by default, non-foodies. As if we don’t all need to eat, or there are those that don’t enjoy eating. Well let me tell you this…everybody eats, and everybody enjoys eating. There are just many, many, ways of going about it.
Part of this polarisation is the rise of farmer’s markets and specialist food shops. Now don’t get me wrong, these are wonderful places and it is only right that we should understand and act upon the mess that the industrialisation of our food supply has left. Environmental issues are a priority, make no mistake, but has the pendulum swung too far in the other direction? Before the industrial giants took hold, food was just food. You bought meat from the butcher, vegetables from the greengrocer, and the rest of your groceries from…well, the grocer. You weren’t expected to pledge your allegiance or wave your badge of honour as you were doing it.
In an ideal world, which granted is something we may never experience, there would be room for everyone. Bakers could bake, butchers could butcher; supermarkets could sell both but profess to be neither. There would be no raping of the planet or gobbling up of landmass and consumers could choose what, and where, they wanted to buy their food; without fear of inadvertently contributing to global meltdown or courting controversy.
We’re not going to lie. Fresh food is best, and the skills needed to prepare it are a vital legacy, but food is for everyone, not just the part of the population that enjoys it as a hobby. Nobody will think any less of you if you have no idea what baba ganoush is and don’t particularly care to find out. If you would rather eat mashed potato than wholegrain spelt, trust me, you are not alone. Not having the time nor the inclination to make your own jam and ketchup from home-grown produce does not actually mean that you like food any less.
So, let’s all sit down around the same table and break some bread; be it Mother’s Pride or organic spelt. Food is, after all, the great leveler; not yet another excuse to underline our differences. Because #everybodyeats
Let us know what you think. What part does food play in your life?