Austin Food Bloggers Wrap Up: Choice – it’s what unites us.
April 30, 2010 § Leave a comment
||As Austin food bloggers wrap up their project of cooking and eating from a list of food provided at one of our pantry distributions, one theme has surfaced to the top – choice.
Choice was carefully measured, portioned and planned, because the consequences could mean a missed meal or have a domino effect for subsequent meals. Depending on the blogger’s resources and knowledge, making those choices either conjured up childhood memories of dread, or nostalgia for simple comfort foods. Choice was often accompanied by discussions about cheating and guilt. Is it cheating to use fresh vegetables out of their backyard garden? What about purchasing organic foods at a farmers market with pretend WIC or SNAP benefits? And then there’s taking advantage of free meals at work. Should a pantry client in need feel guilty if she rejects canned green beans just because she doesn’t like them?
After some soul-searching, the overwhelming answer from this blogging community was no. People in need are first and foremost people. A person’s financial state doesn’t mean that they no longer possess creativity, desire, cravings, or resourcefulness for food. And it is not elitist to want food that tastes fresh, healthy, and delicious. It’s not just food bloggers and foodies who want to be able to make those choices – the mother of three who just lost her job wants to make that choice for her family too.
Bloggers often expressed appreciation for the choices they were able to make simply because they had resources that had nothing to do with food. The knowledge and creativity they possess at the tips of their whisks saved them time, enabling them to whip up a meal without having to think about it too much.
Others talked about how flexibility with their jobs or other obligations provided them with the time to research and prepare complex flavors with simple ingredients. The ability to dip out of the challenge when the twists and turns of life got in the way helped others get through the challenge without family squabbles.
Many commented about how cheap, convenient choices within the Central Texas food system are, more often than not, ones that are unhealthy.
Dignity happens when food fills our soul as well as our bellies. We have a lot of work to do to create healthy food systems – healthy food choices – that are accessible to all Central Texans, regardless of income. The hunger stories told by these bloggers are an important call to action for our community. Visit their blogs to learn how you can make a difference in your own lives and in the lives of hungry Central Texans.
Thank you to all of the bloggers who participated in this project and raised funds for hungry Central Texans.