Food Anxiety

This Food 52 article hits on a lot of the issues I have with how we talk about food today. Almost all food media discusses how to eat in the best, most ethical way possible without acknowledging the expense and time it takes to do so. It’s not like most families have unlimited resources and time to make the kinds of foods that culture then turns around and mocks Gwyneth Paltrow’s goop for suggesting. It’s a no win for most families: expense or guilt with no wiggle room in between.

In part, this situation exists because we’ve approached making changes in food production as a consumer issue and not a political one. Yeah consumers can get more organic milk on grocery shelves but that doesn’t mean the whole dairy industry has changed over to better production standards, which should be the ultimate goal. We’re also tone deaf in discussions of consumables about issues of class. No working class family can afford to buy organic milk which is two times per gallon what nonorganic is. Nor does WIC or food stamps cover organic milk. What food media needs to do, as this article argues, is provide 

Real, manageable tips that can be applied to daily cooking, to weekly shopping, that are better choices. I want to know about the big problems, of course, but I’d also like to see solutions, fixes, options that are both big and small. So that it’s easier to take action and harder to write these issues off as too big, too scary, too inaccessible to do anything about.

Small solutions for every family that doesn’t break the bank would be nice. I like goop and I’ve used some of those recipes. They turn out just fine. But I’m also not feeding a family nightly. I can’t imagine how you balance clean and ethical eating with kids who want chicken nuggets much the cost. 

Summer Olympics: Gymnastics

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Fascinating article querying and exploring the world of gymnastics for women, and the body image issues alongside the reports of sexual abuse in years past. The question is apt, but the pictures of the athletes by Andres Kudaki at a competition at the end of the article are extraordinary. There is one of Madison Kocian, which I’ve included above, where her head and back are thrown back so far and her back leg curled so far up in a mid air split on the balance beam that the image makes it seem like the line from her neck to her foot is seamless; her body has almost wrapped back on itself.

Nice

The problem isn’t that my heart breaks for the senseless tragedy in Nice. It’s that my heart hadn’t healed yet from the senseless tragedies in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and Minnesota last week or from Baghdad at the end of Ramadan or the Istanbul airport or Orlando. A small knot of sadness is centered somewhere on my heart as I struggle to both not be numbed by all this senseless death and struggle and to not to use up entirely my wells of empathy and sympathy. Is this what August 1914 felt like or 1939? The build up towards chaos seems omnipresent, even for me, an eternal optimist. 

Yet, hope abounds as we come together to sing, pray, listen, talk, and listen some more. My hometown did not descend into madness after five officers were shot last week. It turned out in force for memorial services and overwhelmed the Myerson with choir members. Leaders of faith of all kinds have joined together to work on what ways to move forward, to hope. There are mountains to climb toward understanding and even more toward collective actions that foment change. We have real, structural issues as a nation that we need to rectify. If I focus on the hope, on the ways we can move forward, if I listen, then I shift that sadness a bit toward healing. I don’t want my memorize of Nice to be the images of this week. I want it to be my first real cup of dark, hot chocolate at 14 and deep red cherries for breakfast. I want to remember rocky beaches and swimming in the Mediterreanean. 

Commonplace: William Butler Yeats, “The Second Coming”

“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”
~ William Butler Yeats, “The Second Coming”

Commonplace: Publius, Alexander Hamilton, “Federalist 85”

“The judgments of many must unite in the work; experience must guide their labor; time must bring it to perfection, and the feeling of inconveniences must correct the mistakes which they inevitably fall into in their first trials and experiments.”[3These judicious reflections contain a lesson of moderation to all the sincere lovers of the Union, and ought to put them upon their guard against hazarding anarchy, civil war, a perpetual alienation of the States from each other, and perhaps the military despotism of a victorious demagogue, in the pursuit of what they are not likely to obtain, but from time and experience. It may be in me a defect of political fortitude, but I acknowledge that I cannot entertain an equal tranquillity with those who affect to treat the dangers of a longer continuance in our present situation as imaginary. A nation, without a national government, is, in my view, an awful spectacle. The establishment of a Constitution, in time of profound peace, by the voluntary consent of a whole people, is a prodigy, to the completion of which I look forward with trembling anxiety. I can reconcile it to no rules of prudence to let go the hold we now have, in so arduous an enterprise, upon seven out of the thirteen States, and after having passed over so considerable a part of the ground, to recommence the course. I dread the more the consequences of new attempts, because I know that powerful individuals, in this and in other States, are enemies to a general national government in every possible shape.”

~ Publius, Alexander Hamilton, “Federalist 85”

Intersex, Trangender, and Sex in the Olympics

A follow up to yesterday’s post, here’s an article from FiveThirtyEight looking at transgender athletes and the conditions for male to female transgender athletes. It has some good quotes from Caitlyn Jenner, perhaps one of the best people to speak on the issue being one of the few high profile people to be both an Olympian and transgender. 

I have to admit I find it so puzzling that the IOC thinks that male athletes would try to fake being a woman in order to compete in that division. The one case that the first article mentions is of someone born with atypical genitial, whose parents raised him as female, and he competed as female, but he always thought he was male and was relieved when found out because he could then live as a man. Competing at this level is so difficult that adding living a lie on top of it seems too much. (Perhaps I’m too influenced by the NYTimes article about doping and the strain of living that lie.) Plus, today’s Olympians bodies are on full display in tight athletic wear. I was watching the swimming trials last night. No one could hide their form once they were at the start of the race.