Food Gratitude in the New Year
A college friend of mine used to start every year by writing a list of things she was grateful for, and each year she added one more thing. I’d forgotten about it until I started reviewing old journal entries, and I decided that it might be nice to start the new year by listing a few things I’m grateful for when it comes to food.
Here are three things I’ve been thinking about recently, but it would also be easy to come up with more.
Farmers and Grocers
Last year taught us many things, but one of them is to remember that those who work with food are essential workers.
It seems like this should be obvious most of the time. After all, everyone needs to eat to live. But it’s so easy to take these people for granted – the ones who grow our food, harvest it, transport it, and sell it.
After the past year, though, I want to think of these people more often with deep gratitude for what they do.
It’s also easy to take food abundance for granted. We have access to so much, and many of us have never faced food shortages before.
Last year, though, many of us ran into times when something we wanted to buy wasn’t on the shelves, and not just toilet paper. Baking supplies were in high demand, some produce was limited, and one time I even discovered that rice cakes were sold out. What a strange world when everyone is buying rice cakes!
Things have mostly leveled out now, but it reminds me to be grateful for the abundance we normally have.
And more than that, I know that so many people are suffering from food insecurity. Lines at food pantries are very long, and according to Feeding America, 1 in 8 people in Maine are struggling with hunger, and 1 in 5 children are food insecure. This makes me feel both glad and a bit guilty that I don’t fall into that group, and I’ll try to remember that my own food abundance isn’t a guarantee.
I recently got an email from a friend whose refrigerator had died, and that reminded me of the time several years ago when I was at my brother’s house on Christmas Eve and we discovered that his fridge had died.
Here in Maine, we’ve also had several storms where people lost power, which in turn reminded me of when I was in college and Boston was hit by a huge rainstorm. My dorm got flooded out and power wasn’t restored for four days, and when we returned, the smell from the fridge was pretty bad.
I haven’t had to deal with the loss of refrigeration personally since then, but I do think about it sometimes. My fridge makes odd noises, almost as if to remind me that it’s there and I should be grateful for it. This year, I’ll be paying more attention to the wonders of refrigeration, and the electricity that keeps it going.
So Much to Feel Grateful For
I have so many things to be grateful for when it comes to food (and other things). What about you? What are your stories of food gratitude? I’d love to hear them!
And as we start the new year, I hope you’ll find even more things to be grateful for.