Archive | February, 2010

Food-Related Ramble

24 Feb

So I’ve been living in the US for almost four months now and even though I can’t say I know everything there is to know about their culture and customs, I’ve seen and heard enough to be able to formulate an opinion on that subject.

Before I do make any judgment, I think I should say that everyone-including me- tends to have pre-conceived notions about everyone and everything else and those ideas often distort our view of reality and affect, usually negatively, our perspective when judging others.

I remember some time last year before I even knew I was coming here, I read an article on food and eating habits in the US written by a Colombian girl who was studying in a university here. The girl denounced that Americans waste copious amounts of food. Her experience came from working at the school’s cafeteria. She said that the worst was seeing how people were completely oblivious to this situation. I am not mentioning the name of the magazine that published this article or who wrote it not for ethical reasons or something like that. Simply because I don’t remember who did or where I read it


Seriously, I try not to believe 100% whatever I hear or read. But that girl was definitely right. Most people here are not even remotely aware of all the food they waste. I am NOT saying that absolutely everyone in the country is like that. Thankfully, some people are conscious and reasonably frugal and they care enough to watch what they buy so that there’s minimal dilapidation. Kudos to them!

This whole thing hit me actually a couple of months ago when I went to a buffet-style restaurant with a friend. This type of restaurant is quite popular around here. Mainly, because they’re cheap and very satisfying in terms of quantity: you can eat all you want to your heart’s content for approximately 6 to 10 dollars depending on the time of the day (lunch is cheaper)

So my friend and I had just finished our dinner at one of these places and we were just too full to leave right away. So I look to table next to mine and there was this girl who had just sat down to eat. She had at least three plates full of different types of meat, vegetables, side dishes, etc.  She only took a bite of each of the items and then she got up again to fill another three plates with different stuff. And she left all of her previous less-than-half-eaten plates there for the waitress to throw into the trash can. She did the same thing with desserts.

I seriously felt like shaking that girl and asking her if she did not know that people were starving in Africa.  Even in some parts of the US, people struggle to put food on their families’ table. This seemed so incredibly wrong and unfair to me. I was angry at that woman for a week. It made me think that people are wasteful and inconsiderate all over the world.

My grandma taught me to always eat all the food on my plate and that throwing away good food away was a sin punished by God. So I always felt guilty and ate everything. I guess this explains why I have some extra weight on me now.