Food Philosophy

There are a lot of food philosophies out there: vegetarians, locavores, slow food supporters, organic only eaters, those who abhor processed food . . . I could go on like Bubba talking about shrimp (which, oddly enough, I’m allergic to). I was wondering where I fit in the foodie philosophy spectrum since I believe in each of these philosophies, when I came across a once-infamous piece of American propaganda:

US Food Administration, 1914-1918.

I had my epiphany – I grew up on the “waste-not-want-not” adage. My beloved Nonnie was a child of parents from this era, a child of the Depression herself, and I still hear her sing-song that  while I cook. The US Food Administration published this poster during World War I, and it seems to me that its then main-stream message has tragically been cast by the wayside in favor of convenience (i.e. processed) foods.

I subscribe to almost every food philosophy – eating local foods, avoiding overly processed ick, etc. – and using every last scrap of food is the one that ties them all together for me. It was even one of my largest battles with my now husband. He subscribed to the one-day-only view of leftovers, where as I grew up on “every man for himself night” when there was enough leftovers for everyone in the family to have enough for one meal from earlier in the week. I even grew up with “glop in a bowl,” which was a delightful concoction of whatever veggies were in the house that needed to be used, pasta, and some kind of sauce (usually creamy). Now this is the kind of cooking that I thrive on – and that I see in the casual-comfort food restaurants sprouting up. Yes, my Type-A personality fraught with planning, control, and precision complexes predispose me to the Waste Not food philosophy. When you mix that with the utilitarian cooking style I grew up with, it makes so much sense to me. It’s almost like I’ve figured out the meaning of life . . . or at least for now, cooking.

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