Convenience (2/3)

The world is moving faster than we can comprehend. In America, there is an obsession with speed. Everything has to be fast: the Internet, the cars, the mail. Everything. With this need for speed, food is considered a mere fuel, a necessity not a pleasure. It’s something to be dealt with quickly and efficiently. There is no time to savor, no time to enjoy. We have more important things to do. According to Mr. Knight, half of all meals eaten on any given day in America, are eaten in a motor vehicle. Slow dinners with family and friends are considered something special, something to be saved for the holidays and birthdays. They are a rarity rather than a norm.

The very nature of food has changed. Food used to be something that had to be painstakingly and timeconsumingly prepared. If it was a large family, a person could easily spend the whole day cooking for them. Now food is completely different. For example, throughout the article featuring the Californian family, they constantly made attempts to portray themselves as healthy eaters. However, in the picture showing what they actually ate, there were very few fruits and vegetables and very little unprocessed foods. It was convenience food. Prepackaged, preseasoned, precooked. Just open, heat, and eat. Later in the article, they attempted to justify their eating habits: They didn’t have enough time. With their busy lives, food wasn’t a priority any more than necessary.

Our class, as a whole, seems to be decidedly against preservatives, food dyes, and other so-called nasties, yet dozens of packages of Ramen and Easy-Mac as well as hundreds of bottles of Mountain Dew and Monster float through the MSSM dorms. Bacon is practically worshipped by some, and it is one of the most heavily processed and preserved meats to be found in the local grocery. (Albeit, bacon is kind of awesome.) None of us are innocent of this hypocrisy. Not you. Not I. My food journal is littered with these convenience foods because they are exactly that–convenient. It takes much less effort to make Ramen in the microwave than it does to make spaghetti in the kitchen. Time is still the major factor here. (For something that is supposed to be infinite, there never seems to be enough of it.) If I don’t wake up with my alarm clock, not only do I have annoyed neighbors, but I have to skip breakfast, or attempt to grab a Pop-tart from the vending machine. Food isn’t a priority anymore than necessary.

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2 Responses to Convenience (2/3)

  1. maoismdoesntwork says:

    It’s true that , but I think that, if any individuals are to be blamed for consenting to be victims of the corporations that have taken hold of the way we live, they’re members of families. Students are historically inattentive to what they eat, why, and when, and costs are a major factor in their decisions. I’m not saying that they aren’t for the average family living /anywhere/, but I’m more comfortable condemning somebody who knowingly teaches and feeds their children unhealthily than I am students. We’re accepting what we’re putting into our bodies, and while that situation is far from perfect, I think it’s a less guilty lot than failing to make one’s family’s health a priority.

  2. Mr. Sturdy Knight says:

    Just to make sure we’re clear, it’s not just according to me that half of American meals are eaten in a vehicle. I am citing Michael Polan in The Omnivore’s Dilemma on that one. I can not offer any further proof.
    That said, I think you are right that convenience and opportunity cost have become dominant factors in what we choose to eat in the modern world. Imogen makes the excellent point that this is nothing new for students, who tend to be on thin budgets and, to be perfectly frank, are young enough to get away with cutting a few nutritional corners. At the same time, though, part of our attitude towards food comes from habit. Those who eat junk in high school will probably continue eating more junk as adults. If we are to become more aware of what we eat, the process has to start now; tomorrow will just be too busy.

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