Megan’s Thoughts: Our Relationship with Food

So the issue of people and their “relationship” (for lack of a better word) with food is something that is usually on my mind. It’s there, in the back, kind of poking at my brain a little. Sometimes things will happen, and it will be brought forward and become more of a focus. This is something that has been happening a lot lately. Some factors have contributed to my attention being turned to this subject. I have been seeing more articles about people getting ill from the chickens they keep. One of Ben’s co-workers shared some flat out wrong assumptions she had about food. I’ve gotten certain reactions to the food I post on Instagram. All of this plus many other things, and bam, it’s now something I can’t get off my mind. Instead of the small pokes, it’s like a marching band.

I can’t speak for everybody only what I’ve seen and those I know, but it seems that people (especially Americans) have a weak understanding of where their food comes from, what the process is behind it, and what exactly they are eating. I was raised in a way that far from makes me an expert, but gives me a bit more knowledge than the average joe. I grew up mostly on farms, we moved into town a few times in my childhood, but for the most part, we were out of town and raising animals. My family and I have raised ducks, chickens, goats, lambs, cattle, and most especially pigs. I have been there to witness the birth of animals, to helping feed and raise them, to eventually having them on my plate. We were never big on growing, but I have had gardens and meals that were cooked with mostly food that I was directly involved with at several stages.

I share this because it actually astounded me the first time I realized that a lot of people just don’t understand their food. I don’t want to get on much of a soapbox here, but I was blown away to realize that people can’t associate the meat they eat with animals or understand the amount of effort it takes to grow food.

I try not to be too preachy about the food thing; it frankly is off-putting and a bit odd. Yet, I can’t help but feel like people would benefit from spending a few weeks around the food that is being grown. It’s hard to have serious conversations about things with the food world when people just don’t know what they are consuming. The pros and cons of genetically modified foods for instance. The understanding of animals we raise for meat and the benefits from that and the dangers it can present. How farming is harsh on the land and even harsher still with us not considering the shift in our environment. So many things that are hard for people to grasp because they’ve never been taught many of what I would consider basic things.

The subject that often highlights this most for me is eggs and meat. With meat, I will post pictures of preparing raw meat. Some people have an adverse reaction to this because they don’t eat meat. I can respect that, and there is little I can do. I enjoy cooking and developing that skill and sharing that with people. I can understand why a vegan might not be thrilled to see a large chunk of goat meat on my Instagram. What gets more tricky is meat eaters that also express negative thoughts. I get it; meat can be gross. I, for instance, hate raw chicken. Still, it boggles me a little to know that someone will eat meat, but are so uncomfortable being around it if it’s not the in the form closest to being cooked, if not already cooked. I never know how to respond without risking being rude, but my thought is always if you are going to eat meat shouldn’t you see the stages of that meat at least once in your life?

Eggs get very tricky for me. If you ask a group of people whether you should have a rooster or not to produce eggs, you will like find that people either don’t know or assume incorrectly. This is something we put in our bodies regularly and something that many people want to start doing for themselves. Don’t you think you should know what exactly an egg is and whether or not you want a rooster around your eggs chickens?

I also mentioned the fact that there has been a rise in illness apparently because so many people have chickens now. Mostly because they treat their chickens like pets. I am not saying you can’t have any connection with them, but you need to know the risks of chickens. Know how important it is that you thoroughly wash your hands before and after interacting with them. Know how dangerous it is to let your other pets around chickens. All of these things that for so long I believed to be common knowledge, and I to this day forget that they aren’t.

I do want to encourage people to have backyard gardens. I want to encourage you to buy chickens. I support your choice to look into all the other ways you can start being directly involved in the process of the food you eat. People need this. They need to see and know where it comes from. Again I am not an expert; there are many things I don’t know. I do like that, in general, I do know a lot of what I would see as “basics” that others do not.

Read about food. Find a good farmer’s markets and try to talk to people (they are generally nice folks). Start to research so that you can grow your own food. Look into the dangers of massive food production, but also why we rely on it so much. Look into what we add into foods and what of those things are good, which are bad, and which have become a necessary evil. Research into which producers have the best reputations and try to support them. See your food not in a box or in a grocery store if at all possible.

I suppose this is preachy, and more than a little hippie, but I can’t help it. When it starts to become a louder voice in my head, there is little I can do to silence it. I just encourage people to know more about everything we put in our bodies and all the various steps it takes. It’s a strange thing to be so disconnected from something necessary for life. I don’t blame anybody for that; I also don’t blame people for not being more curious, it’s just something I think people could benefit from.

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