Monday, March 21, 2011

Everyone's Got Food Rules

Recently I was spending a short weekend getaway with a group of friends and meals were shared, and divided up. Some had breakfast, dinner, lunch, and so forth.

In the preparation of meal (I had lunch) I found myself at a unique juncture (that I find myself finding more and more in these experiences) in that I'm uncertain of other people's "food rules."

This concept of "food rules" even came up in a number of ways as we talked and shared notes over the weekend in our shopping strategies and eating rules.

I would imagine a decade or so ago the primary concern in preparing food for others would be their taste preference, and extreme dietary requirements or preferences (low sodium, fish on Friday, or vegetarian) would be known factors. Yet, the width of individual food rules is wide.

I've created a list of "food rules" below that are suddenly new concerns, even on the simplest things like bread and eggs you run into a number of potential factors.

• Bread: Whole Wheat? Whole Grain? Stone Ground? Organic? Gluten Free?

• Eggs: Hormone Free? Free Range? Organic? Or cost-effective cheap white eggs? (And don't even start with egg grades)

• Fruits & Vegetables: Organic? Raw or Cooked? Local?

• Meats: Organic? Grain-Fed? Previously Frozen? Hormone Free? Cuts?

• Milk: Whole, skim or somewhere in between? Raw? Pasteurize? Organic? Soy, Almond or Rice? (And don't think these same questions won't get repeated with coffee creamer)

Then apart from these new types of concerns listed above, many people are in the middle of certain specified diet regiments whether that high protein, low fat, low sugar, high fiber, low cholesterol, limited protein, high antioxidant, low sodium or any other combination of factors.

So unintentionally you could easily offend someone or break their rules if your eggs are made with non-hormone free eggs or your casserole dish contains rice and is not low-carb, or your morally opposed to eating chicken that is not free range.

These foods that find themselves along the perimeter of the grocery store seem to becoming more and more specific to individual eating rules, no longer is it just lettuce, chicken breast and milk. The possibilities, and the potential for strong preference is an overwhelming reality of our current eating habits.

By the that coffee fair trade?


mom said...

So...what did you make?

RC said...

@ mom - lunch was sandwiches (that people could self assemble, so as not to force anyone to break any of their rules.


Wheat bread (stone ground whole wheat) and flat breads [also wheat, but neither were organic or gluten free]

I had lunch meat [ham & turkey, not organic]

Cheese [not organic, but pasteurized as is standard]

Fruit [in season, and apples -- but certainly not red dilicious...which are red, but rarely delicious, as well as clementines]

Spinach for the sandwichs [bagged by Dole]

Chips [baked, not fried] and pretzels

And homemade cookies [none processed, of course]

Paula said...

I have things I prefer when I'm cooking for myself, and I try to honour my friends' food preferences...but I would NEVER make somebody feel bad by turning down food they offered to me in love. I don't ask the food questions when somebody is serving me food, it would seem so rude! "Oh, you baked me a cake? Did you use free range eggs? No? Oh. No thanks."

I couldn't do it.

RC said...

@ Paula, maybe that's another one of the food rules that everyone has...

but I wonder how many of the thoughts of our food rules cross our minds when we eat someone something else prepares...or we talk about it in private? It's a new type of pressure.

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