There are currently 40 lbs. of hamburger meat, four pounds of sour cream, and an infinite amount of shredded cheddar cheese in my fridge, hence the title of this post. I think it’s telling of the culture that my mom, whom I love dearly, brought all this over to store in our refrigerator for a church function on Friday, even though she knows that I just cleaned out all the animal based products I had in my fridge and pantry. She knows this because she was the recipient of all of it! I am agreeing to house it because it is going to be used to make tacos for a local camp that meets in the summer to give at risk kids a camping experience at no cost to them. It is a wonderful cause, so the greater good hath prevailed!
I bring this up because it was an assumption, albeit a correct assumption, that I wouldn’t mind having this stuff in my house. My mom meant no harm, and I am not offended, but it is a pretty common assumption here in the South that you eat a certain way and enjoy a certain lifestyle. If you choose not to participate in these things, people look at you as if you have just spat on Elvis’ grave or called a can of Coke “pop.”
Not only does avoiding factory farmed meat and dairy here in the South make you a freak of nature, but saying so also tends to raise the hackles of those to whom you are speaking if they differ in their eating style. It’s amazing to me that people get so defensive of their consumption of meat when you are simply stating what you choose to do with your own body. I don’t typically tell people how to eat or that what they are eating is wrong on several levels, and yet somehow my simple statement that I’m changing my patterns seems to indicate some secret judgment that I must be making about their habits. I’m not, by the way, because I realize that not everyone can or will change their eating habits. I may get irritated at the industry, but I rarely get on my soapbox about it to others. When I do, it’s usually to those who understand me really well and have a close relationship with me. I only share these views with them because I know that they will tell me when I’m being an insufferable blowhard.
One’s diet is quite a personal issue. It is a source of identity for a lot of people. People can be very sensitive when presented with an alternative to their own food ethics and beliefs. I’m not sure if this is because they are feeling judged or if it is because they are forced to confront issues that they’d rather not deal with. It seems to me that the sand is a very popular place for heads with regards to the sources of the food that we eat.
I want to be very clear as I write this that I’d love to spread awareness about eating locally, healthfully, and ethically. I do not want to heap judgment on others who may choose to eat differently. I especially want to appeal to people of faith because we have an ethical code that we are expected to live by, but condemnation is not the way to go about it. I hope that no one will read that into any of the observations and stories that I share. Please know that I am just a normal person who is doing what she can to change the world at her own conviction. This is simply a medium that I can use to share my own experiences with you. Take them or leave them. I won’t judge your decision.