7/08/2008

Enjoying Food

Although there has been a marked increase of late, we have always spent more of our budget than is strictly necessary on food, whether it's buying a slightly better brand from the grocery store shelf, getting as much produce as possible at the Farmer's Market, or enjoying a $4 12-ounce gourmet latte. Lately, between rising food costs and the new justification of "I'm pregnant; good food is important," our expenditures, especially related to produce, have risen.

I don't feel guilty about this.

When there is extra money, people spend it on what is important to them. It might be entertainment, expensive restaurants, vacations, or fashion. Eating well is important to me--not just eating healthily, but eating well. Enjoying the bounty we are provided with on a daily, on-going basis.

Could we survive with "lesser" purchases? Sure. Drinking store brand tea instead of Lipton would not be a hardship. But Kevin prefers Lipton. Buying regular skim milk (let alone store brand) instead of the most expensive organic brand would not kill me. But I am really grateful for the expensive organic brand that I can drink without forcing myself. I could prepare less expensive meals, even if they might be slightly less interesting or less colorful. But I enjoy cooking an aesthetically pleasing and tempting repast for our table.

Could we spend that extra money elsewhere? Sure. We could always increase our monthly principal deduction on the house payment. Or the car payment. We could put more in savings. We could go out to eat more often or plan weekend get-aways as often as we like.

It's a matter of priority. Recently, Douglas Wilson has been blogging about a redeemed approach to food, from gratefully receiving what you have to refraining from pharisaical rules about what should and should not be eaten. Below is a quote regarding spending on foodstuffs that I appreciated, along with the link to that particular post, followed by the link to the series of posts on the topic

Fourth, recognize that striving to improve in this way cannot be separated from the economic realities. Money is one of the factors in the trade-offs. If you choose to buy the best produce, for example, you are going to pay more for it. If you are paying top dollar for such things, then don't pretend you are doing something else. Recognize that you are comparatively rich, and that you are using your disposable income on luxuries. One of saddest features (or funniest, depending) of contemporary food snobbery is the notion that rich people are getting in touch with the rythyms of the earth when they shop at the Whole Foods market. Paying three times as much for a really good apple is a fine thing to do, so long as you know that you are doing it. But if you think that you are a humble creature of the soil because you are whooping it up on luxuries is one of the oddest things that I have ever seen in my life. I understand, to return to an earlier example, why people would come to the point where they would be willing to drop five bucks on a cup of coffee. Okay, I think. It's a free country and you obviously have a lot of money. And if you don't have a lot of money, or you haven't bought into the aesthetic coffee imperative, I understand staying with the older drop coffee. Great. Still a free country. But what I don't get is the idea of someone spending five dollars on a cup of coffee as a way of expressing solidarity with peasants the world over. Look, you're rich. Come to terms with it.


from Infinite at the Top post, part of the Creation and Food topical archives

1 comment:

Mom of two said...

In the upcoming months, you will have reason to re-direct your extra money...the pitter patter of little feet will fill your home, and you take charge of your wallets!! :) It's all bliss!!