20 January 2010

Something Serious for a Change

I came home hungry tonight, and after we had dinner (some leftovers and some too-bitter radicchio) I was still hungry. So we went to our favorite gelato joint and indulged in a pricey but fantastic treat. Never mind that it's just slightly above freezing out. We got home, and, well, I was still hungry.

The truth is, we don't know what hunger is. Despite our (voluntarily) slashed income and much less lavish lifestyles as a result of moving to France, we're still very firmly in the middle class and will more than likely never starve. This site is proof of that.

It was as I was casually perusing Twitter (a pastime, let's be honest, afforded mainly to the bourgeoisie) that I was reminded of this fact. I ran across a re-tweet (as the cool kids say) by food writer Michael Ruhlman pointing to the following movie trailer:

It's difficult not to feel moved by this. Wherever you stand politically, whether you're an American or have simply had the opportunity to experience its bounties at one time or another, it's almost unfathomable that there are – in the richest, most industrious country the world has ever seen – children that aren't being adequately fed.

Nobody's talking about famine, with groups of skeletal kids sporting distended bellies, indifferent to the flies swarming over their emaciated frames, being patronized by a portly Sally Struthers. What we're starting to witness (outside of the typical media filter) is the reality of hunger in the developed, supposedly "civilized" (for lack of a better term) world. This isn't born of drought or lack of resources or even poor planning. It's inequity plain and simple.

I, for one, look forward to this film and more so to seeing how we (speaking as a group of people who eat well enough to post pictures and write about it) can do something about it. Whether it's by simply raising awareness or helping organizations that lend a hand.

Making another Twitter reference (aren't we just so hip now?)... A friend posted something she overheard, which I'll paraphrase here because I can't be bothered to look it up. It went something like, "Why are we sending so much money to Haiti when there are so many poor people here in Florida?"

That sentiment may be shockingly insensitive, but for those who do recognize the truth in the latter part of the statement: Do you know what's going on in your own back yard? Are you doing anything about it?

Alannah and I generally don't talk about the charities we support. Unless we're trying to enlist support or raise funds, we're of the mind that you do what you can to actually help, not to be recognized for it.

As such, I'm not going to tell you to go volunteer at Food Bank X or give to Organization Y or to send a text to Wyclef Jean. I'm just putting up this trailer and being serious for a moment because if you read our site, you probably have more than a passing interest in eating. Let's do our part to make sure others can derive the same type of pleasure from it as we do.

It's not about guilt. It's all about awareness. And raising it.

Thanks, and now someone else take this soapbox from me please...

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