Discover more from Samantha’s Newsletter
Yesterday, and today:
I got home from work and I could hear laughter before I got in the door.
Roxanne had made dinner both nights, from scratch, and neighbor/fun-grandad-vibe Mike was over. Jared was also home from work, and little Sloan was playing and entertaining everyone by being herself. And occasionally being frustrating.
This little snapshot alone of people being present, eating together, has been the most brag-worthy thing I’ve known to tell my friends about recently, even to tempt them into moving to San Diego. (Note: we don’t have a tv.)
Dinner, with friends, made with love, whole ingredients, and dessert, with easy vibes and laughter.
I gotta say - one of my new jobs is being a shopper for people who order their groceries online and then either get them delivered to their door or pick them up themselves.
A thousand reasons we can agree make this makes sense.
As do the pre-chopped vegetables, cans of things, and eleventy versions of shredded cheddar I have to sift through in order to find the one they clicked on when they were at home or on the road, placing an order for their groceries.
There’s no time! It saves time!
As I pick through the avocados, wondering if I can pick the best ones without knowing if they mean to use them tonight or three or four days from now, or scan the endless types of meat only to discover that the specific cut that they ordered isn’t in stock and they put “No substitutions”, and then go back to looking at all the options in front of me they could still have, and would know they had, if they were standing here looking for their own groceries - I know for sure that the net is negative on all the corner-cutting and time-saving. There is a line, and we are past it.
Guys, not a single person reading this blog including me is probably hunting and foraging any time soon. Maybe 2 or 3 of you have some form of gardening happening. My friend Sarah is the only person I know who raises her own meat and knows what goes into the life and death of an animal. I get all of that, and I implore you to think hard about what the trade-offs are that happen when you add just one more step between you and your food sources.
We already don’t know where anything comes from or how it’s made and what went into making it. There’s no wonder at our food any more, or around most of life that’s delivered to us via Amazon. We just rip open a package, throw out the wrapping, and have it, while probably thinking about anything else.
When I’m staring at the cheese aisle I want to declare that none of us are allowed to have any more choices in the grocery store. That’s it. You all get a block of cheese. I can’t bear one more packaged option added to whether your cheddar is
6 oz, 8 oz, 16 oz, or 36 oz
Lucerne, Tillamook, Sargento, Frigo, or 5 other brands
or your tuna is
packed in water
packed in sunflower oil
packed in olive oil
25% less sodium
5 oz, 15 oz, multipack, flavor-sealed pouches
9 different brands
…when it used to be a fish, a big fish, swimming in an ocean, now chopped up, shipped all over the world to people that are more worried that it’s on sale and what its protein content is than that it was ever a part of a living, breathing process.
This transfer from being intimate with our food to expecting to have the finest, most miniscule slices of options has made us into whiny, inconsolable little babies who don’t know how to deal with limited options and the ingenuity that could come from surviving in spite of it.
Nothing has made me question capitalism more than working at a grocery store, and I’m familiar with a story of Ronald Reagan taking Boris Yeltsin to one in Texas and how that vision of plenty partially brought down the Soviet Union.
Good times make weak men, eh? What one of us have faced actual danger in our lives that could reorient us properly to the order of things?
There’s lots of studies showing a decline in happiness once we pass a certain number of options. And yet we live in a time where any of us could say You Know What We Need? And go and build it. Amazing. We are Gods of creation, export, and marketing.
Please, can we at least take back the food even one step?
Shred your own cheese for just one meal a week. Or go buy your own groceries. I don’t care if it puts me out of a job. Notice how it makes you feel the slightest bit more connected to the process of eating your meal.
I can’t bear watching single-serve become the norm, where kids are handed a fucking Go-Gurt or applesauce pouch to placate them from ever being bored or learning how to make their own food, which they rip open, suck on for a literal 5 seconds, and discard to go into a trash pile, forever.
It is the destiny of our current track for people to look always ahead, always forward to what they are trying to get to and be and do.
And they miss creating what is here right now. Being with friends. Laughing.
Doing any form of savoring.