Thoughts on food

15 Apr

As I put on my black clothes and prepare myself for another day serving people overpriced plates of fancy food, I can’t help but think back on some of the experiences I’ve had with food in my travels.  We are so privileged to be able to look at menus and choose what kind of food we want to eat.

The hanger steak usually comes medium rare sir, is that all right?  I find myself asking this daily at the bistro.  And as they ponder the exact temperature they prefer their choice cut of meat to be cooked to, I wait patiently, order pad in hand, and remember watching the Burmese refugees I taught squeal with glee when they managed to kill this choice cut of meat above and bring it back for dinner.  Meat was such a rarity and privilege at the camp that  killing a rat in the rice paddy was a feat worthy of a celebratory feast.

In my country, we don’t eat heads, tails, intestines, or feet, but in so many countries of the world these animal parts are relished and consumed with such a voracity that Mexico, for example, actually imports pig heads from the US.  When I think of how much food is wasted in this country, I often cringe.  Working at a fancy bistro where I am constantly scraping entire steaks or slabs of meat off plates, I sometimes want to cry when I remember watching how carefully the girls in the Burmese refugee camp rationed out one whole chicken among 40 students the day I bought it for us in a nearby town.  Living in America is strange, surreal, and sometimes it actually terrifies me.  But I have to keep reminding myself, over and over again, just how blessed I am to be able to call this great nation home.  In just one day of waiting tables, I make enough money to live for a month or two in most of the countries in the world.


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