This Food Is Nasty

Recently while dining at a local TGI Fridays’ restaurant, Kathy a member of our dining party blurted these words that irk me every time I hear it.

She said, “This food is nasty.”

What’s nasty about the food? I asked, desperately trying to hold back my indignation.

“I don’t like the taste,” She replied.

Well then, I quickly responded with an angry flare of disgust–rather than saying the food is nasty, why didn’t you simply say, I don’t like the taste. Is it spoiled? Is it contaminated?

“No”! She replied. “But something’s missing from the mashed potato, it doesn’t taste right, the steak isn’t cooked, and the corn is hard. I can’t eat this!”

To call any food nasty is an inappropriate comment to be made by anyone. For, while one person may not like the taste, for whatever the reason–someone else will gladly devour a portion and may even ask for more. I’m convinced, It’s our abundant supply that affords us the luxury of waste.

My travel experiences have taught me to embrace customs and cultures, outside my own. The strange taste of different foods of foreign cultures or the lack of a familiar flavor does not mean, the food is nasty. In most instances, it takes several samplings to acquire the new taste.

Anyone who’s been hospitalized for more than a week quickly adapts to the new diet–which in most cases is never the same as at home. Is the hospital food nasty? Some would hasten to answer– yes, but the doctors don’t think so– they recommend a simple diet. The dietitian, the cook, and other staff members gladly prepare and serve all meals–room service–and patients are never required to tip.

Webster defines the word nasty as– dirty, foul, disgusting, filthy or unclean. However, when people describe their food as nasty, they are in fact saying, the taste is different to that which they are accustomed, and so, they refuse and waste.

Furthermore what Americans dispose of as “day-old” would certainly be –fresh supplies to many in foreign countries, as close to us as Haiti.

In a 2012 report, the Natural Resource Defense Council Agricultural Program confirmed that Americans discard over 40% of their food supply–an amount estimated at $165 billion annually. No–not millions, but almost inconceivable-billions-and this occurs year after year.

Yet, prime time television solicits “Feed Americas Hungry.”

Americas Hungry? Yes indeed, right here in the richest country in the world, there are millions of hungry people.

A Hunger and Poverty fact report of 2014 stated that 46.7 million people in America live in poverty. This number includes 15.5 million children under the age of 18, and 4.6 million seniors sixty-five and over.

Sadly, while thousands gather to applaud hot dog eating championships, millions go to bed hungry every night.

Moreover, the sale of cats and dog food rose from $19 billion in 2012 to a staggering $21.4 billion, In 2014. I’m wondering– what is the percentage of hungry dogs in America, as compared to hungry children, under the age of twelve?

I have watched time and again as patrons of all-you-can-eat restaurants pick over their food at the table–putting the greater portion in the trash. It is at times like these that I recall the many days–I wish I could have had, what I now see thrown in the garbage can. I guess if I were to ask, why are you throwing out that food? The typical response would be-“This food is nasty”– yet others in unhealthy, uncontrollable gluttony stuff themselves to discomfort.

In our family of eight boys and five girls, we all learned the value of every precious piece of bread. The only reason we had a dog was–Dad strictly instructed– “I don’t want to see any food in the trash.” Our dog Max, ate the bones, and any crumbs that fell from the children’s table.

Born and raised in a third world country-I remember those dreadful days when we had to eat yams, (not candy yams) cassava or boiled green bananas–these were foods I did not like (even to this day) regardless of their nutritional value. Mom would often say, “If you don’t like it sit close beside it.” What she meant was–there were no choices.

Whatever she cooked is what we eat. If Mom chose to cook her favorite–fried green bananas with smoked herrings for lunch then, we either eat lunch or it was reserved for our dinner.

Remaining hungry was never a wise choice, and to partake of her dinner menu, you had to have eaten what was served for lunch. Mama always insisted-“we should always be grateful for whatever God provides because there is always someone, somewhere who has nothing to eat.”

So, as we celebrate the holidays, (Thanksgiving/Christmas) in this nation of plenty. let us be careful to maintain an awareness of God’s goodness–his bountiful blessings of food and drink.

Instead of wasting, let’s consider sharing–not from the leftovers, but from the abundance. Remembering, the Bible says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)

I have learned by my experiences–we’ll never truly appreciate having if we’ve never been without. I don’t mean lacking for that short period before the end of the month when the check comes in, or the time it takes to get to the food pantry-No… I’m referring to the plight of millions who have no clue as to where or when the next morsel of bread will arrive.

Coming to America has afforded me some of the greatest opportunities of my life. My only regret is that I could not take advantage of them sooner. Now, as I reminisce about my childhood while enjoying the many blessings, I can honestly say, thank you, Lord. Thank you.

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