When I stumbled across information about Food Day online, my initial reaction was, “Good, but isn’t this a bit inane? We have so much wonderful food in this country, why do we have to encourage people to learn about and eat the good stuff?”
We’re lazy, that’s why. We want things to be quick, easy. We don’t want to bother thinking about something that draws us out of our comfort zone. We want to cruise through life. I can be guilty right along with everyone else.
For example, lunch on Wednesday. I didn’t have good leftovers in the refrigerator to take with me so I looked in the cabinet and found a “make it quick” soup bowl I had gotten with a free coupon from the local food coop, which I typically trust to provide good food. When my stomach began to tell me to prepare it, I ripped off the packaging and stared at a vacuum-packed rectangle of noodles, a hard pack of seasonings and a “flavor” pack. I had my doubts, but I didn’t panic.
I followed the instructions for softening the noodles then mixing in water and seasonings, all in the microwave. It was certainly easy enough although I didn’t use their plastic bowl because of health concerns related to heat and plastic. I used a mug. When it finished, I tasted. Bland, quite bland. I dumped in the flavor pack contents, which looked like soy sauce. There still wasn’t much to taste.
If it hadn’t been cold, windy and rainy, I would have gone for a walk to find something healthier. It’s not an easy thing to do in the neighborhood where I work with a nonprofit in one of the lowest-income neighborhoods of Lexington. Since the weather was bad, I ate the soup hoping it would at least fill me up. It did, temporarily, but it didn’t leave a good after taste.
I spent the rest of the afternoon longing for a good meal from the garden.
What did I learn? Don’t trust convenience foods, even from the local food coop. Plan ahead at home so you can be sure to have a decent lunch to take. Remember that food not only provides nutrition, but when does well it also feeds the soul.
Maybe we all have to hit a wall before we’re willing to change our habits. And even though I changed my habits years ago, a reminder now and then helps me stay on track. So today I'm making Butternut Squash Chili. That will provide good leftovers for a few meals. I'm also hoping the tomato plants I put into my greenhouse this week will keep giving me fresh, red fruits for a couple of months. I want to eat from the goodness of the garden for as long as I can.
Maybe the need for a national Food Day isn’t so inane after all.