Once we get to know the elephant we can learn to live with him. An interesting outlook on the world food crisis by the Pair of Gourmands in 'Elephant's footprints'.  (Photo: Flickr user, codysimms)
Once we get to know the elephant we can learn to live with him. An interesting outlook on the world food crisis by the Pair of Gourmands in 'Elephant's footprints'. (Photo: Flickr user, codysimms)

Elephant’s footprints

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She says:

I know that news in general is not a pleasant thing, but do we have to listen to seemingly endless variations on a theme of doom and gloom? I think that is why reality shows are so popular – people want to say that they are not escaping from reality, but they don’t really want to look at the hard-to-deal with topics. Who wants to spend their time after a hard day at work talking about the food crisis in the world or how detrimental our large carbon footprints are for the future generations of our world. It’s much less stressful to discuss why someone else got picked on or voted out of the house or the concert stage. Eventually though, it becomes hard not to notice the elephant in the room. So, why not take a different approach and just introduce it?

We went out the other night to see a movie and thought we would treat ourselves to some sushi before the show. Little did we know that the international rice shortage has actually come to affect our sleepy little town, and the local sushi joint is having to close early because they can’t get enough ingredients to stay open all evening! I know there are other factors to restaurants closing, but let’s face it – if there isn’t enough ingredients to serve an ethnic food in a Canadian town that has a token population that would regularly eat that food, doesn’t that make you stop and wonder? You might say that you are not concerned with recent research that speaks about the North American dependence on corn for food, but did you know this? (as a recent book reviewer stated):

Corn feeds the steer that turns into the burgers, becomes the oil that cooks the fries and the syrup that sweetens the shakes and the sodas, and makes up 13 of the 38 ingredients (yikes) in the Chicken McNuggets.

Michael Pollan, an author who has researched American’s eating habits and how they affect the food chain, has spoken out about the competition now on for corn as fuel (ethanol) or food (see above in the “yikes” section). Never mind the size of our footprints, where do they take us when we turn our society into something that cannot see its own demise? I realize that not everyone has the luxury to eat from their own backyard, whether by practicing something called the 100 Mile Diet or just by shopping but if we aren’t growing the food for our part of the world, where does it grow? And when do we run out of space if we keep adding people to the world? Math was never my strongest subject, but I remember the concept of filling up the receptacle and reaching a maximum level. Is the concept of overflow then like a Star Trek episode, where we start new colonies on other planets and eat food from a replicator because we can’t supply everyone anymore? It was a cool idea when I saw it on TV, but I am not so sure I want to try it out for real.

So, I hope you have enjoyed meeting my pachyderm friend. I know he is an awkward fellow, but once we all get to know him I think we might be able to understand how to live with him. We just have to remember to watch out for blind spots, or we might miss a big part of him in the room.

He says:

Last year wheat prices rose 77% and rice rose 16% but this year things are moving extremely fast. Since January, the cost of rice went up 141% and some types of wheat shot up 25% in a day.

Basic supply and demand is one of the problems this has occurred and transport costs with oil rising everyday is another big problem. China and India are creating more and more middle class people and like most middle class people in other countries, they want to be eating meat as this is a great way to show their new found status. For the remaining people in lower classes living on $1 a day, their lifestyle means cutting out meat and vegetables and eating only cereals. For people living on 50 cents a day, it means selling their animals, tools and much of their belongings to be able to eat anything at all.

Did you know that it takes 6 lb of grain to create 1 lb of meat! 6 lb of grain can feed a lot of people in a place like Africa. If more grain goes to feed cattle and other animals for meat, there will be even less available for poor countries.

While I love meat, Kristin and I don’t really eat lots of meat on a weekly basis. I have decided to do my share and start helping the people in my community. I will now have each of my clients add a box of pasta and a jar of tomato sauce onto the grocery bill. I will donate all those meals to the local food bank which should be around 600 meals this year alone.

Just over 1 billion people live on $1 a day. Another 1.5 billion live on $1-2 per day. How much did you spend on groceries last week?

On a happier note, with the new garden planted next week you can look forward to more mundane commentary from us as we enjoy the start of summer.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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