I had read The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Fast Food Nation and several other works about corporate ownership of our food supply, the corruption in the FDA, the horrors of the meat industry, etc., but I thought this film did a really good job summarizing a lot of that information for a wider audience.
On a second food note, I was so disappointedt by my favorite American Public Media talk show, “The Splendid Table’s” July 11 episode. Lynne Rossetto Kasper interviewed authors Deborah Madison and Patrick McFarlin about their new book, What People Eat When They Eat Alone (a subject that I thought was covered in a wonderfully entertaining fashion in the book of essays, Alone In the Kitchen With An Eggplant) — you can hear the audio here — and maybe I was just an extra Sensitivo today or something, but I found the tone of the whole thing incredibly hurtful. I eat alone every day of my life and I don’t think of myself as a freak or an object of pity, as the authors and Kasper seemed to imply. The segment’s tone to me was like, “Oh, it’s so FASCINATING what humans will eat when they’re in the highly unusual situation of HAVING TO EAT ALONE.” I’m driving along thinking, “Gee, I manage to eat quite normally under those BIZARRE circumstances. I wasn’t aware that I was such a sociological phenomenon!”
I mean, what? When I think of eating in America I think of people grabbing a Dunk’s coffee and bagel on the way to work, eating lunch at their desks, and then microwaving something fast for dinner. From what I observe, when families or couples do get to eat dinner together they consider themselves fortunate. I admire people who make eating with family a priority, even though some of my most unhappy childhood memories are located at the Sacred Family Dinner Table (and I hardly think I’m rare in that!).
Anyway, instead of being all depressed about it, I thought I’d make a positive recommendation: invite a single person over for dinner this week! We really do get sick of eating alone every day. We’re happy to contribute to the meal, too, which totally does not need to be fancy. Here, I’ll even recommend a simple menu (inspired by The Splendid Table!):
Pasta with a simple olive oil and garlic sauce
Steamed green veggies to go in the pasta
Wine or sparkling water and lime
Fresh berries over vanilla yogurt for dessert