Today Is Food Day

Oct 24, 2013 at 9:36 pm
Who knew? Today is Food Day. I thought every day was Food Day, but so says the Food Chain Workers Alliance. They've got a short video, “Guess Who's Coming to Breakfast,” in which a little boy asks mom and dad, “Where does food come from?”

From the store,” they answer confidently.

Wrong again

It's a commonplace to say that the family farm is dead or dying, with farmers just 2 percent of the population, but there are still 20 million people who work on bringing us what we eat: growing it, harvesting it, processing it (meatcutter is one of the more dangerous jobs you can have), trucking it to the store, selling it in the store, and serving it in restaurants. That's just in the U.S., never mind the coffee and banana growers.

Half of those 20 million people work in restaurants. It's one of the fastest-growing job categories, for two reasons I can think of: because people are too busy to cook, or think they are, and because restaurant food has gotten so much better. Forty years ago, there wasn't much reason to eat out just for fun, unless you were going to pay top dollar, because you weren't going to find anything decent.

When I was growing up, in a non-urban area, the only two ethnic restaurants were Fazio's, with the iconic red-checked tablecloths, and The El Rancho. I was never lucky enough to eat in either. My family ate out exactly two times a year, when we were on our annual vacation—since it took two days' drive to get to my grandparents', we had no choice but to stop in a diner once on the way down and once on the way back.

Today, you can have a culinary adventure every time you walk out the door. And there's plenty of boring food around, too, if you goal is no higher than stopping hunger pangs. That's why it takes 10 million people to keep us fed, on Food Day and every day. Let's show them some love.