5.01.2013

Brunch Was Definitely Food For Thought

It never fails. Every year during Live Below the Line week there is a community event to which I am invited. An event that always involves a meal. A meal that brings up the question:

  • if you are offered the food but didn't pay for it out of your budget is it okay to eat? 

In other words, is it cheating if you eat "above the line" even though you have budgeted and planned to eat "below the line"?

I posed this question to several friends and answers varied. After all many who live below the line frequent food banks or take a meal from a local shelter. Children are often able to have a free breakfast or lunch at their school, and in the summer can participate in different programs. So some felt that it would be okay if you are at an event where a meal is served to eat the meal. Others felt that that defeated the purpose of participating. After all, if you are going to experience hunger shouldn't you, well, be hungry?

what a lovely brunch, don't you agree?
In addition, many of my friends know that I ran a mini-marathon this past weekend and as a result need to be in recovery mode. This means after not being able to navigate stairs or really walk for the last two days, yesterday was the first day I was able to really move. So I walked just over 6 miles. That takes energy. Energy that I don't have. Energy that the brunch which was put in front of me would have most certainly provided.

So, again,
  • if you are offered the food but didn't pay for it out of your budget is it okay to eat? 
I mean, who would know if I ate the brunch? No one at the event knew me and knew that I was participating. I could have eaten the yogurt parfait, the quiche, the hash browns. Had not one, but two, cups of coffee. Sipped some orange juice. Right? But I would know, wouldn't I? I would know and have to admit to it, because if you are going to talk the talk you should walk the walk.

And here in Louisville it's Derby Week. So everyone I know is headed to "food related" events. And posting photos all over their social media. Of the Indian Fry Bread they ate at the "Chow Wagons" (really, we have a whole section of the city designated to food carts, you buy a "Pegasus Pin" which is entry into the event, then have to spend additional money on food...the purchase of the pin alone would leave you with only $2.50 to spend for the week...on food), of the yogurt they stopped to purchase on their way home, of the big bowl of clams they had while on vacation. Perhaps because of my own meal I am more sensitive or aware of their "food porn" (as it's called on instagram), but aware I am. 

Day 2 dinner: rice & beans, again
So as I go into Day 3 of "live below the line" I've always known we are a consumer culture, of things, of stuff, of food, but perhaps I wasn't really aware of just how much food is just...everywhere. 

So...I didn't eat the brunch. And I actually felt guilty for wasting that plate of food. And for the additional waste of food at all the settings that were empty because conference attendees had already departed from the event. Guilty because I looked around that room and thought of how many families would have loved to have had a chance to say:
  • yes, if you are offered the food but didn't pay for it out of your budget, it IS okay to eat. 

But now I have to ask the question...what happened to the food that wasn't eaten? I'm afraid I know the answer to that question...and so do you.

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