First of all, I find myself with my family in Hawaii. Kaua’i, to be precise. If you’d like to check out pictures et al. we are blogging at goulashesinhawaii.blogspot.com.
One of the first things I read after arriving was a Ms. Magazine we brought with us, and it talked about how the current food trend a la Michael Pollen and Barbara Kingsolver (in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle) is largely white and affluent-ish – and perhaps suggests women need to get back in the kitchen to boot (apparently Michael Pollen took on Betty Friedan for contributing to the erosion of women’s contentment with the kitchen).
As far as the latter goes, I mostly haven’t thought the food trends were presented as if they only applied to women. But here on Kaua’i, I am thinking about the former charge. Food here is really expensive. And I don’t just mean organic hemp milk and its ilk. A half gallon of regular whole milk costs almost $7.00. So, we are shopping with the regular folk here in Kaua’i, which has me realizing two things. The first thing is that this food movement – or whatever we want to call it – has to do better at addressing the needs (the financial needs) of working and middle class people. I think Mark Bittman is doing a great job in this area but more would be better.
The second thing I realized is how much I insulate myself in Portland. I know it so well I never have to go anywhere I am not familiar with. And though I think it’s pretty human to prefer the familiar, it means, for example, that I only see the other people who can afford to shop at New Seasons and they do not a representative sample of Portlanders make. I am woefully and willfully out of touch, and I might explore that topic another time here if I can do so without feeling too painfully sheepish about it.
This all puts me in mind of that saying about having to go halfway around the world to come face-to-face with oneself, except I only had to travel for 6 hours.