Privilege, [food] Politics, and Priorities

My background in Women’s Studies has left me in a constant mode of analysis; I can’t
help seeing everything through the lenses of race, class, and gender.  That said, I can’t avoid thinking about how access and privilege play into this food journey.  Am I just another bored, middle class suburban white woman subscribing to a new trend that not everyone could afford?  Am I standing against food politics, or reinforcing class politics?  Could everyone benefit from this way of living, or is it only available to some?  I am still thinking through this.

I have to believe that, ultimately, we can affect change by supporting sustainable
agriculture.  We are standing against a political system that determines what foods will be produced and distributed throughout not only our country, but the world.  How much of what we eat in the United States is determined by the USDA, and how much is the USDA influenced by private money?  For basic information, check out:

http://www.healthy-eating-politics.com/usda-food-pyramid.html

And we can think about this on a global scale as well.  There are people currently
starving in countries that used to  sustain themselves with agriculture.  Now, thanks to late twentieth-century economic restructuring, these countries are forced to sell their own crops for the money to buy imported food.  Only they aren’t making enough money to buy the food.  So they export their own food for money…that won’t buy food.  How much sense does this make?  You can read more about this in several places, but here’s a link I grabbed just now:

http://www.alternet.org/food/152335/food_emergency%3A_how_the_world_bank_and_imf_have_made_african_famine_inevitable_/

I do acknowledge that not everyone has knowledge of, or access to, the kinds of foods my family is eating.  I still don’t know exactly how I feel about this.  I am lucky to have the time in a day to bake my own bread.  I am lucky that I can afford to pay slightly more for organic, local food.  I am sad that for so many, this is not the case.  But I am affecting change in the way that I can.  This does mean arranging my priorities during the week to make the time for the cooking and shopping, and it involves partnership from my family.  And it also means re-prioritizing my budget to accommodate the slightly heavier emphasis on food.  Manicure, or better food for my family?  Another
pair of shoes from a department store, or an hour spent buying vegetables from a local, small-scale farmer who is working hard to beat the odds that are stacked against her?

Today’s recipe:
Easy whole wheat/oat bread (NOT VEGAN!)

 

My very first loaf of homemade bread EVER!

 

2c white bread flour
2.5c whole wheat bread flour
1c oats
1t sea salt
2T molasses
1T honey
1c water (warm)
1c milk (warm)
1 packet of yeast
4T butter (melted)

Mix dry ingredients in bowl.  In separate bowl, mix first four wet ingredients; add yeast and stir to dissolve. Add butter and dry ingredients.  Knead for about 10 minutes; add flour if necessary, dough should not stick to the bowl.  Cover and let rise for about an
hour.

Punch down dough and lay out flat on a lightly floured counter.  Shape into rectangle
the width of bread pan.  Pull top to center, and bottom to center; there should be a crease in the middle and the dough should now be about the side and shape of the bread pan.  Place dough in pan, crease side down.  Tuck edges down.  Cover and let rise for about 45 minutes.  Pre-heat oven to 400.  Don’t be surprised (like I was the first time) when it actually looks like bread at this point!  Enjoy the sense of accomplishment a little early–you’re almost there!

After dough has risen, bake for 40 minutes; bread should sound hollow when you knock on it.  Remove from pan, cool on rack.

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