Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Pantry Files

Privilege per Webster's is defined as a right or immunity granted as a benefit, advantage, or favor

Perception seems a bit tougher, involving observation and comprehension...

This past weekend I spent time at my older sister's house in Oregon and both my brother & were left with some serious questions. My sister has the perception that in comparison to her own diet, my mother's is extremely unhealthy as my mother likes the occasional cookie or donut or candy bar.

Yet my sister's pantry is filled with boxed and canned goods filled with sodium that Mom's diet should not include. We ate fried eggs and pork products everyday. Erica made cupcakes from a mix, used frosting from a container and baked premade biscuits, all of which have partially hydrogenated oil.

Oh and she drinks Ovaltine everyday. Isn't that technically a sweet?

The third, or maybe it was the sixth, time my sister griped about my mother wanting to buy danishes at the store, I opened the pantry and said "Do you have any idea how much sodium is in all this stuff?" Her response was a shrug and a comment about the fact that her husband liked that food, so that is what they had.

The only meals with vegetables we had were Thursday at Sizzler because we had the salad bar and Friday night when my brother made vegetable goulash with veggies my mom gave us money for. 

This has got me deeply thinking. I came home to a lovely beef stew with fresh potatoes, sweet potatoes and green beans. The weekend left me longing for fish. My perception is that my mother is eating the same crap my sister is serving only adding a few sweets here and there. My mother is known for liking her dessert, and we used to have 'a little something' every night when we were kids. In summer she would buy strawberries and douse them in sugar before putting them in the fridge and I would always ask if she could leave just a few plain so I could eat them that way.

So am I just responding like someone of privilege who is lucky enough to eat fresh produce with ease and has almost no canned or boxed food in their home? Or is this an issue of perception: she believes that canned food is perfectly acceptable because it isn't sugar and in her view the lack of sugar makes it 'healthy'?

When we stopped by the Ashland Co-Op on Sunday, Erica commented that she noticed how expensive things were. I said that with all my health issues in the past and our family health history I was willing to pay a little more for good, fresh food that wouldn't make me sick. She responded in the positive, so maybe in the end, she heard me after all.

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