Sunday, April 02, 2006

Mum and yesterday's food

I don't normally get cross with mum-in-law. So I felt it especially bad that it came on Mothering Sunday and all.

She was going home on the coach and I suggested she took a sandwich with her.

'O, no! I can't eat anything after yesterday's meal.'

I kind of blew my top.

'If that works for all those starving people in Africa, wouldn't it be great?'

For me, yesterday's food cannot feed today's body. Technically most of our food would have been broken down and either absorbed or discarded. If yesterday's food could feed us today, there'll be much less starvation and malnutrition.

'It's not possible! Technically it's not possible that you are still full from yesterday!' I found myself saying, quite rudely, I must admit.

I find it very offensive that someone could say, 'O no! I can't eat anything else after yesterday's lunch' especially when one has had a light dinner and then a substantial breakfast in between.

No, it was not that one could not, in reality, eat any more. It was the idea of fullness and the memory of discomfort from that fullness after yesterday's meal that actually made food temporarily repulsive.

Food, repulsive? Well, food will not be repulsive if one were starving. And yes, people who have been starving must be careful not to over-eat when food is available again.

But I cannot understand why usually well-fed people over-eat at Christmas and then complain that they felt unwell, that they would have to lose weight, join the gym, etc. There is nothing in the legislation that say, 'Eat till you are sick at Christmas.'

In my time I've lived in communities where there isn't always plenty to eat. Up in the highlands of North Thailand, for example, little children (many of them orphans I was helping to look after) learn to eat two or three bowls of plain white rice at meal times, lots of leafy vegetables, and if they are lucky, a tiny portion of an omelette, knowing that there will be no snacks in between meals. If there was meat, it was always shredded really small and we each only shared a spoonful.

Sometimes rice was cooked into a watery gruel to 'stretch' it. When some unidentified insect fell into my bowl, I didn't even dare suggest that I threw this bowl of rice gruel away. I simply removed the offending insect and continued eating.

If only there isn't so much over-eating in this country, would there be so much 'wealth-related' illnesses? There wouldn't be so much over-eating if people have actually seen how other people are starving.

The converse is: conceivably there might not be so much starvation and malnutrition if we ate less and gave more away. (This is premised upon being able to give/donate wisely and to the right people.)

Why did I get so cross with mum-in-law? I'm not exactly sure. Perhaps it's her attitude of complaining about having too much when I know so many other people simply do not have at all.

Back to Organic-Ally.

1 comment:

Anonymous said... Have you seen this? I have a horror of waste and find it hard to believe the figures. How can we waste so much and not have any feelings of guilt? Lyds