We are what we eat and how we eat

Sound Consumer | January 2011

by Kelly Sanderbeck, Communications & Development Director

Since returning from a Slow Food conference in Italy as a delegate, I’ve been noticing the American organic consumer’s tendency to focus somewhat obsessively on what we eat. It seems that our dietary rules — no gluten, sugar, dairy or nuts, for example ­— become the goal. Please, don’t get me wrong, I’m not denying the very real allergies and sensitivities that many of us have (me included).

But I worry that the “what” we eat can sometimes override the “how” we eat — so much so that we end up denying the very pleasures that eating is meant to invoke. So my friend doesn’t have wheat-free muffins for our meeting? Should I express my irritation (she knows!), or be satisfied with some hot tea and the warmth of the experience itself?

I bring this up because in Italy, while eating and observing others eat, I realized there are no “to go” coffee cups. Italians would think it’s crazy not to take time to enjoy a cup of coffee! Eating in your car? Blasphemy! Milk is pre-warmed for coffee and, in small towns, businesses close for 2 ½ hours every afternoon to take the time to prepare and enjoy a relaxing lunch. It makes me think about the work we do at PCC Farmland Trust, taking the time to put our values into practice.

So, I’m experimenting with my eating habits — trying to add a “how” to my list at least as often as a “what.” I always try to sit while I eat. I try to JUST eat, not read or blog, or work at my desk! I try to extract every morsel of flavor from each bite and I try to say THANK YOU to all the people who helped create that divine food.

Let’s take time to learn from our farmers and visit a bit. As with food, with life.


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