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Laughs at Einstein


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Post Repercussions
As I've mentioned a couple of other places, right now I'm working on a Food Security Forum -- got involved because of my role as farmers' market manager, stayed involved because of my growing interest, and am getting paid () to help produce it.

One of the things I'm finding is that everything is connected. All is about food security. If all the trucks hauling food about the country stopped driving tomorrow, grocery stores would run out of food in 3 days. People think it is cheaper & easier to feed their kids Kraft Dinner and weiners than to make a pasta primavera with some fresh vegetables. New mothers are convinced by advertising (and intolerant attitudes to breastfeeding in public) to bottle-feed their babies. And, scary upon scary, as a society, more and more of us are turning up with life-threatening food allergies.

This Industrial Disease (as Dire Straits termed it) that we area all suffering from here in Canada and the USA (and what other 'developed' nations?) is just getting worse.

Talk to me of solutions...

Please?

"All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds."

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Sat Nov 18, 2006 2:48 pm
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The Pope of Literature


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Post Re: Repercussions
Well, I think one place we can look to for solutions -- and this is probably going to rub a lot of freethinkers the wrong way -- is tradition. Think about the "French paradox" -- French women eat foods that seem, to North American women, like anathema, and yet are still apparently healthier and thinner (not that socially constructed attitudes about beauty should necessarily bear on the issue). But they're essentially eating according to a conventional diet that is traditional in their region.

The trick for dealing with tradition is to treat it not as an end unto itself, but, in a paraphrase of G.K. Chesterson, as a dialogue involving the dead. It is, in other words, a means of availing one's self of the experience of past generations. Dietary tradition may, in fact, make for one of the most immediate illustrations of that point. In America, for instance, the decline of regional food traditions seems to have begun just after WWII. So what looks to us today like a food crisis has developed over a period of less than 60 years. In terms of tradition, that isn't terribly long. It means, among other things, that we still have living representatives of the traditional culture, people who presumably remember a time when most of their food was grown locally, and most of their meals were prepared in the local manner.

And, for that matter, when the mean weight was significantly lower and rates of diet-related disease were thought to be way below crisis level.




Mon Nov 20, 2006 1:16 am
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Post traditional foods
I wonder though if this isn't an intrinsic American problem due partially to the fact that we really HAVE no long-term or solid tradition of meals. This IS supposed to be the melting-pot, isn't it. And one of the things that was juxtaposed most immediately was food traditions. I think the only very traditional meal we have here is Thanksgiving dinner. Lacking the solidarity of traditional meals, we were left wide open to whimsical change.




Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:35 am
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Post Re: traditional foods
I dont see why a freethinker would have a problem with tradition. If it works, it is fine. But tradition, say, in slavery or treating woman as objects or basing real world knowledge on a religious text...that is something a freethinker should have a problem with.

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Tue Nov 21, 2006 9:46 am
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Laughs at Einstein


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Post Re: traditional foods
But in Canada and the USA, we do have traditions...maybe not the ultra-healthy peasant-based vegetables, seaweed, rice & sometimes a bit of fish/meat of Korea or Japan (ooh, they are so having an obesity problem this generation, with the rising popularity of fast food), but the meat, veg & potatoes in a sit-down dinner with family.

Let's not forget the social interaction that should be a crucial part of any meal. I think it's the Philipinos that do not eat alone -- if they see one of their co-workers (so I'm told) going out to eat lunch late, someone will go along, and have a second lunch, because it's such bad mo-jo (or whatever!) to eat alone.

Of course, my husband and I are guilty of eating in front of the TV a lot of times...but usually I'll cook something healthy -- I'm halfway there!

"All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds."

Loricat's Book Nook
Celebrating the Absurd




Tue Nov 21, 2006 7:10 pm
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Post Re: traditional foods
misterpessimistic: I dont see why a freethinker would have a problem with tradition. If it works, it is fine.

Where my view of tradition starts to conflict with most freethinker views of tradition is that I'd say it's something a good idea to err on the side of tradition even when the reasons for doing so aren't obvious.

The change in American diets makes for a pretty good example. We didn't know, 50 or 60 years ago, what effect it would have to abandon traditional dietary norms. Traditions exist for complex reasons, and we aren't always capable of seeing all of those reasons at the moment of decision. And now that we can see some of those reasons in retrospect, we find that it isn't all that simple to revert tradition. We've lost some memory of the traditions that stood, and we've restructured our society in ways that make those traditions difficult to sustain, and to some extent, we're just really used to our new ways and don't want to go back.

That isn't to say that we shouldn't part with tradition when we have very compelling reasons for doing so. But we have to balance the weight of those reasons against a certain respect for tradition. "We've always done it this way," shouldn't trump all arguments, but it should suggest, at least, that a given tradition survives for a reason, even if we don't see that reason straight away.

And as an aside, slavery wasn't exactly traditional when it was adopted in the U.S. It was an innovation, both in the sense that Europeans hadn't practiced widespread slavery since the fall of the Roman Empire, and in that American slavery differed from Roman and Hellenistic slavery in some very important essentials. Nor do I think that American slavery was often defended by the argument according to tradition.




Wed Nov 22, 2006 2:00 am
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