It’s like the title to a Dr. Seuss book:
Fast food, slow food
Green food, white food
Food in the car
Food with a star
Some food comes in packaging
Some food comes from gardening!
Food in the morning and food at night
Food in your tummy and –
Okay, I need to stop. This is getting out of hand.
The other day I ended up getting friended or fanned on Facebook to someone who wrote a book on “slow food.”
Sure, I’m a fan of slow food…
…just like I’m a fan of margaritas on a veranda overlooking the azure Mediteranean waters that lick the heels of my personally owned island…
…just like I’m a fan of sleeping through the night without getting woken by a kid… just like I’m a fan of not wiping other people’s bottoms… just like I’m a fan of getting a massage from my own personal trainer who visits my house on a daily basis…
That is, I’m a “fan” of a lot of things that just aren’t part of my reality right now. It’s something I find happens to me a lot, as a person of limited means: I can be a fan of expressionist paintings or of Spanish tiled roofs, or of really nice clothes, but I can’t afford them, so no one viewing my life externally would know these things about me – so:
- Iis being a fan of something you can’t have just fantasy?
- Is it something you can realistically claim if it’s only an idea, not an action?
- Can you love something (or somebody) in thought only?
- Isn’t true love – or fandom – the physical expression, the bodily commitment, the concrete evidence, that you show?
- Am I starting to sound like the beginning of an episode of “Sex and the City” – sans the sex, sans the city, sans the shoes?
[In the background, we hear the rising volume of Eliza Doolittle singing, “Words Words Words, I’m so sick of words… Don’t talk of stars twinkling above, if you’re in love – Show me!”]
I definitely answer “yes,” to all of these, though on Facebook, I can see my “friends” seeing I’m a fan of “slow food” and thinking that this means I eat it.
I do not. Not really.
I mean, I believe in a world where all the food is organic and local and fresh and humane to both animals and workers – I believe that would be best. But putting my money where my mouth is – and my time – and my energy – is still a vague happy bubble of an idea.
I’m mostly okay with this. I have to be. I’m a “single, working mother”- I have two kids and sometimes, we run out of milk for cereal or syrup for frozen waffles – very fast food – so then we go to even faster food, the donut shop around the corner.
But – you are what you eat. So: Do I get to believe it, even, if I don’t actually do it?
We’re just talking about food here, but what about other things? Certainly no one is forgiving high-falutin slave owners for believing that all people should be free and equal, but not actually letting any of their own slaves go…
And even cycling back to food and the planet: It’s pretty hip to be “green” and eco-friendly right now – but wearing the badge without doing the action is basically a lack of integrity – it’s making your values as superficial as a fashion statement.
The thing is, it’s easy to wag our fingers at dead slaveowners 200 years later, and it’s easy to shake our heads at people who don’t recycle – it’s easy to question the gap between thought and action in other people – not so much oneself.
Let’s face it: For most of us, when it comes to living with integrity, we’re pretty forgiving of ourselves. We give ourselves an A for Effort and stay “realistic” about the rest of it. I mean, that’s what I tell myself: “Let’s be realistic; I’m a single working mother on limited income – I have to be realistic – I can’t afford everything organic; I don’t have time to cook slow meals; yadda yadda.”
I’m sure owning slaves seemed pretty “realistic” back in the day.
“Realistic” is a euphemism, I think, for “convenient.”
The real question I have to ask myself is, Do I really, truly believe in slow food?
Because if I’m not willing to give up making my eating decisions based on convenience, then maybe I don’t really think it’s the great idea I’m saying I do.
Maybe I’m just saying “it sounds good” – but I’m not really touting it as a core belief.
One thing I do know that I believe at the core is that, if you truly love something, are passionate about something, believe in something, there’s a way to do it/find it/ express it/ whatever – you will find a way. You can find a way.
For example, if I really believed in very nice clothes, I would probably save my money for spare, but planned purchases of said nice clothes and then spend more effort taking care of them. I may not have a whole wardrobe at my fingertips, but I could have a few items.
I obviously really don’t believe in nice clothes. And this is true: I’m not a person who pays attention to fabrics, materials, labels, and yes, sometimes even the size. I like to dress up but I’m not at all a clothes person. I don’t really care.
And the food thing? Maybe I don’t really care.
On the slow food website, they say they exist to:
counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.
Oh dear. I think this might be describing me.
What I do value? Getting time with my kids. I noticed this when last week we prepared an intensive soup that required over an hour to prepare and hectic shifts of grating and chopping and slicing, and while the result was awesome, it was not something I care to do every night. I hate to do it, but I’m one of those people whose interest in food is dwindling.
I think what I CAN safely say about slow food: I am a huge fan of other people cooking and preparing it for me; I am a huge fan of other people doing it; and I definitely believe it’s the way for people to go.
But maybe not me, not now.
Accepting this to be true may not be pretty, but it’s better than the pretense of pretty, which is ugly.
This is clearly a useful exercise in self-knowledge, for helping one discern what is truly a core belief and what’s just a faddish notion or idea – take a minute and go through it yourself. What do you believe in – in idea only? And is that because you’re lacking integrity – or because you don’t really value what you thought you did?