Some Random Thoughts on Food

No grocery store ever fails to amaze me.


Photo credit: JK Fitness

From the tiny utopia Santa Monica to developers’ playground Ho Chi Minh City, every grocery store is a wonder of choice: an ocean of brands of products that are more or less not different from each other, except for their… brands.

Which one is better: Coca-cola or Pepsi? This may be the origin of the debate on how we don’t have as much freedom of choice as we imagine – well, let me know if it wasn’t. My point here is: What are we buying to put on our tables? Are they foods? Or are they brands? Of course, for our era these two things hardly can be mutually exclusive. Another point then: which aspect do we prioritize?

It seems like we are prioritizing brands. Most of us are struggling with a busy life in which we are relying on particularly corporations to act on our behalf to choose certain kinds of food for ourselves and our loved ones so that, ironically, we can make ends meet. We are living a fantasy in which we have control of our consumption – that, as consumers, we are more powerful to held others responsible for providing us healthful foods.

Even worse, that as consumers we absolutely have no power on the supply chain and so we can only ‘choose’ whatever is there.

However, looking of our food quality in general, they are bundles of stuff that you are right I have no ideas when I read any nutritional facts on any box *sarcasm inserted*.

In our hometown here in Vietnam, whenever I try to raise the concerns of food choice in order to eat ‘clean’ food, my relatives just simply put that we can’t do anything about that – every kind of food is contaminated; every kind of food has an issue; every kind of food kills us at different pace. And I realize they got me on the part that I am paranoid, as well as that we are way too disconnected with food. I know, I know, we still gather together: we’ve still got the spirit.

However, because we are no longer cultivating our food, we are losing that spirit.

We don’t see the sunshine, the water, the air, the earth, the everything that our food embodies. Instead, it is merely something we buy on the market at a calculated price for a day goes by. A brand on market is more recognizable. I can just choose clean this, no that, extra whatever and somehow still manage to put them together and call that a meal.

Simply put, I’m half-enthralled half-appalled by the choice we have.


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