Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New Beginnings

This Jewish New Year is a special one for our family, as we have recently decided to be more Kosher.

But the path is even more difficult than I had originally thought.

I stood in the grocery store holding a package of 20 eggs for $2.39. I looked up and saw a carton of 12 free range eggs for $4.99.

I can't afford that! My boys will finish 12 eggs in a few days...
I can't afford not to buy those eggs, if my family is going to respect the animals that nourish our bodies...
That's a minimum of $20 a week, for eggs alone...
But the chickens; they get to run around outside and be happy...
Well, these eggs have already been laid, I'm not responsible for how they got here...
And so, after wrestling with myself in the dairy isle, I finally did the right thing and bought the free range eggs.

A half gallon of kosher milk from cows who are allowed unrestricted access to outdoor grazing costs twice as much as a whole gallon of milk from the giant agriculture corporations whose cows are warehoused, stuffed with fatty feeds and shot up with antibiotics and growth hormones.

A kosher, free range chicken costs three times as much as a corporate warehouse chicken.

But something else happened when I sacrificed my hard-earned money for ridiculously expensive basic necessities: that food became precious. Every single egg. Every drop of milk. Precious the way food ought to be precious; it is after all, a life that is taken so that we may live.

I have always felt close to my food. I avoid processed food as much as possible, and the extra effort I put into to preparing meals for my family is important to me. But now, after taking that next step to being kosher and organic, I feel a profound connection with the animals themselves. I sacrifice money (which I don't have a lot of) in order to honor the sacrifice of these animals to nourish my family.

I take comfort in knowing that these animals were happy, healthy, and treated with the dignity they deserve.

I still don't know whether we can change the trajectory of modernity toward the insatiable corporate machinery that consumes our economy, our natural resources, our health, and our very souls.

After all, in today's fast-paced lifestyle, even the act of eating has been automated and mechanized. No time to be mindful, no time to sit down: unwrap it, eat it, on to the next task, go, go, go.

So I am looking forward to Yom Kippur a few days from now, when my family will enhance our mindfulness  of our food by fasting for 24 hours.

And to anyone else celebrating Yom Kippur this year, may you have a meaningful fast.

1 comment:

Jerry Lavey said...

Wonderful, Heather. My wife and I were just talking about organic food and how much more expensive it is And now you have given me a fresh and sompelling perspective and much more to think about than just expense. Thank you,