While sitting in a favorite well established restaurant recently, one of the members of my dining party; blurted out these words that seem to bother me every time I hear it. "This food is nasty." What is so nasty about the food, I ask? She said I don't like the taste of it. Well then, I quickly responded with a hint of disgust: "just simply say you don't like the taste of the food."
Someone has said, "You may in fact have the right to speak but you must earn the right to be heard." Indicating that sometimes is best to just shut-up.
To call any food nasty is a very foolish and thoughtless comment. While some may not like the taste of Garlic flavored spinach, so many others, me included, seem to enjoy the great taste.
Having traveled a few foreign countries has taught me quite a lot about different customs and cultures. What we take for granted here in the US is a luxury to be desired in some of these countries. Here in my home city we cannot drink the water from the faucet. So, we must purchase bottled water for drinking and cooking. In some parts of the world there is no water, for drinking or cooking and I'm sure they would be very happy to have the water from my faucet. Some, if not all their local foods have strange taste, but it's what they are accustom too. For me to call their gourmet food nasty would be an insult that could cost me my life.
What we discard as "day old" would indeed be the delight of many of our foreign neighbors. We take so much for granted what others are dying to have. In an article posted on 8/21/2012 in the Huffington Post online news it said, "Americans throw away nearly half their food." In this article a study conducted by the Natural Resource Defense Council's ,food and agriculture program confirms that "Americans discard 40% 0f their food supply an amount of roughly $165 Billion annually." What we may call "nasty" is in fact "tasty” to a hungry family somewhere.
I was born and raised in a third world country. I remember those days when we had to eat Yams, cassava or boiled plantain and these were foods I did not like even to this day. Mama would say to us "If you don't like it, sit close beside it". What she meant was that there were no choices, in what you had to eat. The only choices were in when, you were going to eat that meal. If the meal was served for lunch you can either eat it for lunch or for dinner or not at all, and remain hungry for that day. She always insisted that: “We must be grateful for what we have, because there is someone, somewhere who does not have anything at all."
So, in our nation of plenty, let us be careful to always be grateful and maintain an attitude of gratitude.
I have sat in those "all you can eat" restaurants and watch as people take different foods on a plate, then sit down and pick over it, eating very little then dumping it in the trash; and doing the same thing over and over again. It's at times like these, when, I'm reminded of those days, when I longed for some of that food I see thrown in the trash.
I'm convinced: We will never truly appreciate having, if we have never been without. I don't mean being without for just a few days until the check comes at the end of the month. But, I am referring to being without, and you don't have a clue as to when or where that next bite -- not a meal -- just something to eat, is coming from.
Coming to America has been graciously wonderful. But every now and again; I am sharply reminded of the realities of growing up in a third world country in the 60s.