Saturday, June 30, 2012

Food Nazi and Other Divides

Food Nazi?

A friend was talking about recipes and described some neighbors as "food Nazis".  Nazis,  she was very embarrassed about using the term, not politically correct.

I said I was rather picky about what I ate and was I a "food nazi?" she said yes.

So I asked what a food nazi was.  Evidently it is someone who makes their food preferences known and then either They expect others to abide by them at social gatherings, OR, (and this may have been my friend's problem) Others think that to be seen as "good people" They must Only bring foods to communal gatherings which those they call "food Nazis" would like.

So who has the problem?  Our world is terribly divided over many issues to the point that we hate one another Personally, for disagreeing with our views, religion or denomination, sexual orientation, voting choices,  and now food?

I think we cannot afford such divisions and survive as a people, a nation, or a human race.  This doesn't mean you have to like me or agree with me.  It hopefully Does mean you can restrain yourself from calling me naves in public for the purpose of humiliating me.  I wish it meant you wouldn't discard me from your mind as trash because of our differences, and it Shouldn't mean that you have to physically injure or kill me because of them.

My friend did not use the term "food nazi" in public.  But I got to thinking about it anyway. I remember once at a women's gathering an African American woman came in and spoke.  She said she was sick and tired of people judging her for who she was and dividing up into little factions.  She said she ate meat, wore perfume, and liked chains.  And her conclusion was that people were just too damned picky about who they considered to be Good or Acceptable people.

If perfume makes a person physically ill they have the Need to request that the people they meet with use unscented products.  If scented products make someone uncomfortable but not ill, they may want to consider the consequences of requesting that those they meet with use only unscented products.

I do not like smoke.  In a closed in space it makes me physically ill.  I choke, and my eyes and nose won't stop running.  But I have friends who smoke.  When we are together my friends smoke either outside and with the wind blowing their smoke away from me whenever possible, or they arrange the air flow in a vehicle so that I can breathe without pain and they can smoke.  The smoke still makes me uncomfortable, I still do Not like it.  But I choose to keep my friends over demanding that they don't smoke in my presence.  If I made this demand I would probably see a lot less of them.

At family gatherins most of the food was something Ann couldn't eat.  It either had lots of sugar, (Ann was diabetic) or it had gluten and Ann had Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance.  But we went anyway.  There was a combination of accomodaation to Ann's needs and we also brought foods she could eat.  If an important part of the meal was bread, we brought gluten free bread.  If there was a sugar-filled sweet potato casserole, we brought baked sweet potatoes.  It was a combination arrangement.

I don''t eat much meat.  If someone is having steak I might eat a very small piece or just eat veggie. Dishes.  I will Not demand that others adhere to my food preferences.

I have had vegan friends who always brought something they could eat to communal potlucks.  This is what Ann and I did at family gatherings.

Bottom line:  people deserve to have medical needs respected; but whenever possible I think we who have differing preferences than the majority of Americans can either make compromises or choose not to attend gatherings where we cannot physically stand the offending circumstances.  We Cannot All have Everything we want.  If we want to survive and have friends, we need to remember how to compromise when compromise is possible.

Sounds simple, doesn't it?  But you might be surprised how much anger there is between smokers and non-smokers, vegetarians and veagan vegetarians, vegetarians and those who eat meat, Muslims, Christians, and Jews, LBGT people and heterosexuals, and on and on and on.

Two books have been important to me when considering these things.  One is "The Filter Bubble" by Eli Perrizer, which points out that people who get their news from "liberal" sources never listen to "conservative" news sources, and vies versa.  The other, which I just recently read is "Half the Sky." 

This book discusses gender discrimination across the world and its effects, economic, health,  social, and cultural.  It points out that "Feminists" and missionaries are often working toward the same goals while they battle one another in the developing world.  And the book points out many issues on which these two groups can cooperate, If they would.  No one wants mothers to die in obstructed labor.  No one wants women who suffer obstructed labor or rape to have to live with fistulas. As a part of general maternal health education, the dangers of female genital cutting can be discussed with women and men.    Cooperation to iodize salt is Very cheap and would raise IQ.'s, especially for female fetuses.  De-worming communities has proven to be of great benefit in helping children learn.  This is also inexpensive.

I personally do not believe in missionaries.  But I respect the fact that many give their whole lives not only to spreading their faith, but to treating the sick, educating children and adults in basic literacy, starting vocational training programs, etc.  But instead of cooperating where we can, we battle one another over abortion, LBGT rights, and other political issues which Are of Vital importance.  But doesn't it make more sense to work Together where possible and Not work together where we disagree?  I won't support a religious education program.  I will support feeding and re-hydration therapy, basic literacy efforts, and the other causes listed above.  If I know most of my money is going where I choose, then I can ignore a bit of religious teaching, so long as it isn't about discriminating against others.  Most religions Do discriminate against Some group, but there Are  missionaries who focus on love and acceptance rather than separateness.

To quote the Stones, "We can't always have what we want, but sometimes we get what we need."  The more we learn or are Foorced to learn to work together, the better off we will be as human kind. 

1 comment:

  1. Amen. At least I hope we will get better at it.

    I don't like terms like "Food Nazi" and similar re-uses of otherwise hateful concepts because I think it dilutes the toxicity of certain words. Sigh. But if someone wants to use it ... sigh ... I won't spazz out about that use.