Is eating #Unprocessed a privileged choice?

Posted on October 12, 2011

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Yes, I think it is privilege. I have access to quality, whole food ingredients. I have access to a kitchen of my own in which to cook. I have acess to knowledge about making healthy eating choices. These are all advantages that enable to me to succeed in the challenge of eating #Unprocessed for the month of October.

At the same time, the need to meet such a challenge suggests I am also at a severe disadvantage. I am vulnerable in this culture, where products are mindlessly marketed to a miseducated public, where, “eating out” is touted as more enjoyable than sharing meals at home, where overly packaged nutrient-devoid grocery items are less expensive than their fresh, nutritious counterparts.

I wish that the privilege of eating real food was not awarded or denied. I wish that the choice to eat real food was not one to be made or cast aside. I wish that eating real food was a given, a right, a certainty, a thread woven tightly into the fabric of our culture.

But it is not. Not here, not today. But it has been and still is elsewhere. And I think we can make real food a basic component of this culture again, too.

In that spirit, I have been trying out some recipes from those earlier generations who knew a culture where good food was the norm, and others from those nations who still know a culture where good food is revered.

Venison Stew with Mushrooms and Flat beans
adapted from The Dabble

 

Chicken Paprikash with Bell peppers and Olives
My sister who is a chef passed on a recipe for this dish to me. I added the olives on a whim!

 

Tomato Stew with Goat Meat and Cabbage salad
This is a classic Ghanaian stew for which I didn’t follow any recipe – just cooked!

 

Zupa di Baccalau (Salt cod soup)
adapted from Jamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver

 

Roasted Acorn Squash and Sweet Potatoes tossed with Garlic, Almonds, and Endive
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens magazine

 

Hearty Venison and Red Bean Chili with Wholemeal Corn bread
This was dinner tonight. I also didn’t follow any recipe here, just followed the instincts of my chilli-and-corn-bread craving.

I love eating like this. I think most people would, if only they could get a taste.

How do you think we can challenge our nation’s cultural relationship to food? How can we account for widespread vulnerabilities caused by our poor food system? How can we tackle the structures of privilege and discrimination leading to health disparities across the nation?

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