The Weekly Query #2

The Weekly Query is a series of tough questions that I’ve run into or thought up. There are no right answers, and while you can give your thoughts or responses in the comments below, the queries are largely intended to provoke hard thinking, not answers. This practice is borrowed from the Quaker tradition, as I explained here. Be forewarned that as these are on difficult subjects, you and others may encounter painful topics. Be aware of this for your own sake and the sake of others. The terms “you,” “we,” “yours,” and “our” may be used indiscriminately throughout. Interpret them as you choose.

(I’m resisting the urge to the “what are we thankful” question. I figure you’ve done enough of that lately. I will, however, ask something else somewhat relevant:)

Where did the food you’ve eaten today come from?
Where was it grown or raised?
What did it cost you monetarily?
What other costs might you have paid for eating it?
What benefits might you gain from eating it?


(Hold onto your hats, folks; some big stuff coming up!)


2 thoughts on “The Weekly Query #2

  1. I’m going to leap in here and say this has to do with Thanksgiving, not “today” as I haven’t eaten anything yet.

    Where did the food you’ve eaten today come from?

    Not trying to be flippant here, but mostly from a Safeway store, with a Trader Joe’s thrown in.

    Where was it grown or raised?

    All over the world, actually. The lettuce in the salad came from Mexico, the Parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar from Italy. The cheddar cheese was from Canada. The turkey was from Northern California.

    What did it cost you monetarily?

    My personal monetary expense was low. Having gone to my sister-in-law’s home, who insists on bearing the cost of the majority of the meal, I made a side dish. It cost approximately 10 dollars, serving 10 people.

    What other costs might you have paid for eating it?

    The gasoline to get to and from there. The intangible costs are often difficult to assess. Family strife being one of them.

    What benefits might you gain from eating it?

    Meeting new and wonderfully delightful people. Sharing a meal and stories and laughter with old friends and new.

    And a larger waistline.

  2. Another food question is: what did someone ELSE have to pay so that I can eat this? (whether that’s directly in money, or indirectly in health risks, hazards, lost opportunities…) Also, at many times in human history — and still in many parts of the world today — a huge question is “who went hungry so that I could eat this?”
    There are no answers to these questions. That doesn’t mean they aren’t important (or that they just plain don’t exist). Holding such questions in mind even when we can’t answer is a way of staying aware and connected in the world.

    A related thought: a wise friend once told me that before meals he and his children each silently pick one of the food items on the table and mentally follow it from source to supper plate, with a specific grateful thought for everyone along that path: e.g., farmer, harvester, sorter, packer, warehouse worker, truck driver, grocery-store shelf-stacker, ckeck-out clerk… I sometimes add this chain-of-gratitude to my own silent mealtime grace. If I had young children in the household I might even suggest it as an out-loud conversation, as a way to practice making those connections.

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