Slow down, enjoy the delicious peace

David Busch

We first began with the potatoes. Next were the carrots. Then we chopped up onions, chives and opened a can of black beans. Each step was an act of meditation. We combined the ingredients, sprinkled some cayenne pepper on top and made patties out of them. We turned to the hot pan filled with olive oil and splashed small sprinkles of water on. Sizzle. The pan was ready.

We put the patties on and waited patiently. Each one slowly takes form as we chop up broccoli to be cooked in the oven. It’s a process, but when each ingredient does its part and comes to fruition on the dinner plate, the work was worth it.

This feeling has been spreading across the country. Michigan State University and University of California Santa Cruz both have their own student gardens and farms run by organic farming programs. These students learn the cyclic season of farming. The produce grown goes into the university to provide quality food options for students. At the College of the Atlantic in Maine, the university helps students cook community (dorm) meals on Sundays to teach the importance of eating in a community and setting aside time to enjoy the grace of eating. Akron has put forth an initiative for city residents to use designated areas of the city to plant and grow their own produce for $20 a month.

The reality, however, is still far different. The fast-paced lifestyle of Americans has quantified food and quantified time. In effect, our health and our communities have suffered, and equality still seems out of reach.

Most food options in the inner cities are highly processed foods offered at convenience stores or fast food restaurants.

The high fructose corn syrup that intermingles in almost every food label in America has made our food sweeter but overwhelmingly unhealthy. This ingredient has produced a new type of Diabetes (Type 2).

The subsidies for growing corn have made Midwest America into one extensive cornfield. The nostalgic images of the American farmer have passed away with the tide of “progress.”

Florida strawberries are shipped to California and California strawberries are shipped to Florida, all in the hopes of making a greater profit. Organic products have become en vogue but, again, have fallen victim to the same big business mindset that has characterized the past 50 years of food in America. Latin American workers have gone impotent working with the pesticides to produce Chiquita bananas.

Even with the mass quantity of food in America, 49 million citizens live in “food insecure” homes in which the easily accessible food isn’t so. America throws away an estimated 25-50 percent of its food harvested each year, merely to keep the food prices high and competitive. Economic initiative outweighs social awareness. The American mantra sings with the sizzling burgers of McDonalds: Time is of the essence.

The locally grown tomato has become a unique (and expensive) phenomenon rather than the norm. Growing your own produce or meeting the farmer who has, preparing it and enjoying it with company adds essence to time.

The meal was over, the kitchen was cleaned and my body happily digested the dinner with each sip of wine. As I glanced around my kitchen, I felt a warm appreciation tingle through my body. I was fed and delightfully happy. I found a delicious peace.

David Busch is a senior psychology and history major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].