There was a teaser headline on a Newsweek cover (yes, my wife had been down to see her father again, returning with issues of Time and Newsweek. But there are also Smithsonian's thrown in) about food wars in our culture. I wondered if this were the article there was such a fuss about a month ago - it was. The author, Lisa Miller was relating tales of the differences in the way parts of our culture looks at food, including one about her friend who, when visiting her mother, went out and bought different apples, even though there were already apples in the house. Organic apples. Locally grown apples. Her mother was insulted, saying "we don't tell you what to buy when we come to your house." The daughter was also quoted as saying that all her buying locally and organically was her family's charity, helping the earth. "And we give a lot."
My first instinct was to side pretty strongly with mom on this one. I thought it was jaw-dropping rudeness, and for Ms. Miller to quote her friend as simply a rather strong example of one side of a debate struck me as dizzy. And as for food-buying as charity, I thought that stretched the definition pretty far.
Yet I don't know if that opinion is going to hold up in the future. Were it a religious dietary requirement, we crossed over long ago into thinking it would be the hostess who was rude (if she knew, of course. Though asking about such things is more and more required). Respecting vegetarian wishes has come later, though I think that is pretty squarely in the host's lap at this point. Not quite a religious choice in most cases, but often one based on a morality as much as nutritional considerations. Is feeling strongly about the morality of where food comes from and how it is grown that different? It is now, in impression, but is it logically that different? For a narrow group of people, they think it is clearly similar. My impression that such choices do not rise to the level of morality pretty obviously derives from my view that I think their ideas silly.
Additionally, their idea that they are a growing movement, and where the culture is going to go as soon as it gets enlightened, may influence my impression. I find that both self-deluding and conceited. Yet I don't know the future any better than they do, and who knows what will be generally accepted in the culture in 30 years?