The Culture of Real Food

As Thanksgiving nears, I have been thinking about food. We live in an age and place that has nearly completed the commodification of food.

Eating reminds us that we participate in a grace-saturated world, a blessed creation of attention, care, and celebration.

– Norman Wirzba

As Thanksgiving nears, I have been thinking about food. We live in an age and place that has nearly completed the commodification of food. In the last century food has transformed from something life-giving, reminding of our connection to and dependence on the land and neighbors, into some plastic packaged product detached from (almost) everything. Food has been processed beyond recognition. Corn is omnipresent thanks to subsidies that benefit a handful of corporations. Many urban areas have access only to calorie high, nutrient deficient food. Developing nations have certain crops forced upon them by global agribusinesses and intergovernmental agencies, ridding them of native crops and traditions.  Animals too have become commodified, existing in squalid conditions all for cheap pork, poultry, and beef.

On this Thanksgiving, I am thankful that folks will spend time cooking their own food, sharing old recipes, sitting down with family and friends to spend time in face-to-face community, stopping to think about the culture of real food. On this day we will again lift up the blessedness of food: its gift, its pleasure, its deep history, its call to pause, its reminder that we are not an island unto ourselves but rather dependent beings.

May we carry these lessons from our Thanksgiving tables back out into the world.

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