Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Let Them Eat Kale

I've been reading some interesting stuff on food and its economics and politics.

The Politics of Food by 11D is a wonderful post that includes the following quote that sums my feelings up nicely:

Food is not a priority to most people. Pressed for time and energy, most people are going through the drive-through window at Wendy's. Even if it was cheaper and more readily available, kale and okra are only important to the intellectual fringe. And people don't want to hear about it. They don't want the guilt. Vegetable-guilt drives people to Sarah Palin's rallies.

...as well as a link to Ezra Klein's Foodie Politics post at The American Prospect.

I'm seeing the same split between foodie ("pie in the sky"?) intellectuals and people who are struggling to pay for their food and don't have time to cook it in the comments on feministing.com's post titled Low-Income Children Shamed by Cheese Sandwich Policy, which spun off a Chicago Tribune story about the policy that the Albuquerque Public Schools recently instituted, where students whose parents are behind on paying for their lunch bills get a cheese sandwich, milk, and fruit for lunch.

It's too bad the Tribune didn't bother to do a local story on this, because I'm sure there are schools in Chicagoland that have similiar policies. Here in Michigan (hey, maybe we're an economic bellwether for the rest of the country!), both my first grader and my sixth grader's schools have done something like this for years - if your child's account is more than $5 in the hole, your kid gets offered a PBJ sandwich if they didn't bring their own lunch. They don't get to have one of those cheeseburgers that makes McDonald's look like gourmet food, or even a little pool of the fluorescent liquid cheese-food-product with a pile of tortilla chips (all served on a lovely styrofoam tray) that passes for nachos.

Also close to home, Mark Maynard has a post called The President Calls for Victory Gardens. Despite the fact that a commenter said my contribution (a link to Eat the View, and their cute historical video on the White House lawns & gardening) was the stupidest shit he'd seen in ages - and I have to confess, it does highlight the gulf between foodie intellectual and "what's for dinner tonight?"Americans - I'm still planning on planting a few tomatoes in the back yard when the ground thaws in....oh, three months or so. Maybe I'll even buy some kale at the Saline Farmers' Market when they open again. It probably doesn't taste too bad in ramen soup, and if I tell my 12 year old that's how they eat it in Japan, he may even try it. Maybe I'll go wild and use the entire flavor packet.


Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

Kids here get a basic lunch when they forget their money, too. You know how many times my kid has had that lunch? PLENTY. I am REALLY BAD at remembering to give him money. He doesn't seem to scarred by it.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

Also. I don't believe that people who cook dinner for themselves are elite intellectuals. People who talk about -- and theorize about -- cooking dinner for themselves are elite intellectuals.

Sandy D. said...

I like to theorize about cooking dinner and then serve my family mac and cheese. And though it's not Kraft, it's not made from scratch, either. :-/