My mom was reading Home Ec 101 this weekend, and she noted that Heather does a lot more instructional posts while I write a lot more commentary type posts. I was totally going to write a how-to post today to prove her wrong, but I’ve been fighting off the urge to write this post all weekend long. I can’t fight it any longer. So tomorrow, I’ll show you guys how to do something, but today, more commentary.
See, I’ve been seeing a rash of snotty commenters at many of the blogs I read that are in regards to food. None of y’all, of course, Home Ec 101 has the best commenters on the internet, hands down. But in other places, I’ve seen an interesting phenomenon that I feel needs to be addressed.
It’s the attack of the militant foodies. And I don’t mean foodies like Claudia or Lesley– I mean the people who will crucify a blogger because she dares post about deals on frozen chicken nuggets or posts a $50-feeding-a-family-of-four-for-a-week menu. Let me tell you kids, I don’t think you realize the privilege you have if you are able to avoid feeding your kids Tyson chicken nuggets for their entire lives.
This wraps up a whole lot of little issues into one place, this militant foodie-ism. First, the notion that everyone has the time and skills to make fabulous meals from scratchevery single day. Consider a single mom I know who gets off work at 5 PM, has a one hour commute, and by the time she gets home, she’s tired and hungry and her kid is starving because schools typically serve lunch at super-early times. So, she pops in a frozen pizza or some chicken nuggets, everyone’s fed. But then she goes on the internet and feels bad because she sees some mommy blogger getting eviscerated because she’s posting about Tyson chicken nuggets.
Now, we all know that there are better nutritional choices than frozen chicken nuggets. And we all know that from-scratch is better than processed and organic is better than conventional. But not everybody is working with enough funds to be able to afford organic, and many people who are tired from working all day don’t have the energy to cook from scratch, and they shouldn’t have to feel bad about their choices.
Instead, some kindly education is in order. For example, my single mom friend could learn to do the “Once A Month Cooking” thing. Heating up already frozen meals is just as fast as heating up chicken nuggets, and she could use the cooking time to both teach her kid to cook and spend some quality time with her.
And the $50 menu post? I know people who have precisely $50 a week to spend on food. They’re not doing it to be frugal. It’s all they have to spend. It can be done, and people who are saying it’s not possible to eat healthfully on $50 a week should try living poor for awhile. When you cook from scratch and don’t get all worked up about eating organic foods, feeding your family of 4 for $50 a week is possible, unless you live in some ridiculously high cost of living area.
Did you know that in poor urban areas, good produce can be hard to find? That the grocery stores in those areas may not even carry healthier choices? It’s sad, but true. Having lived in some of these areas, with nary a Kroger on the bus route, much less a Kroger that carries organic items, I know what this is like. The fact is, for people who are not educated on good nutrition and cooking, grabbing some chicken nuggets and frozen french fries seems like you’re feeding your kid a great meal.
So instead of speaking from a position of privilege, speak as an educator. Teach, don’t judge. People are far more likely to respond to your evangelism when you present it in a kindly, sharing way rather than looking down from above.
I know I’m largely preaching to the choir here- like I said, we have the best commenters on the internet, and we’ve not faced much of this criticism. However, the message needs to get out: sitting up on your high horse and looking down your nose at people isn’t a good thing, and it’s certainly not going to help anyone- it may be damaging your own cause.