When you first come to college, you don’t know what to expect; it may seem cliché, but it’s the truth. I have two older sisters, one that graduated from college two years ago and one that’s currently in her third year. But quite honestly nothing they said helped. When it came to college, everything was so contradictory. One person would talk about how hard (insert class name here) was but then another person would rave about how college is full of courses like “under-water basket weaving”. With teachers and parents telling me my entire life how every little assignment (I vividly remember my fourth grade teacher reprimanding me for not taking my times table quiz seriously) I did contributed to the epitome of intellect that is college. As you can expect, this can be pretty confusing to an incoming freshmen to be receiving so many mixed signals. Needless to say when I finally figured how to navigate Camino and saw my class was titled “Food Porn” I really didn’t know what to expect.
But I was ecstatic! You wouldn’t really expect so since I’m only 96 pounds, but I love food. It’s actually a running joke in my family that I eat more than my two sisters combined on a regular basis. That’s why it was so funny when I was actually placed into a class that was about food. I was told that our CTWs were based off of one of the questionnaires we completed even before we stepped on to the Santa Clara University campus. And that’s what made it all the more humorous – I mean I was actually placed in it, it wasn’t even my choice. I have to say something that definitely helped my level of happiness was that my friends were jealous. Many of them, unfortunately, were placed into Science and Technology when they had no interest in the subject at all.
Food isn’t just something I consume three times (or more) a day. Because I am mixed – half Mexican and half Caucasian – food was representative of a large part of my identity. It was one of the most tangible ways that I could see how the opposite sides of my family were different. I didn’t really appreciate this until I came into this class. I really just accepted that while at my mother’s I would always have a seemingly endless supply of meals including chicken and at my father’s I would always have some sort of meat with a side of rice and beans. But at the beginning of this class I came to the realization that food is so much more – one of the biggest centers of a celebration, it brings people together as well as exemplifies different cultures and customs.
That being said, through this course I also learned about how food is represents so much that’s wrong in society: wasteful ideologies, apathy towards the state of our environment, as well as the general obliviousness with what we are putting into our bodies and allowing food companies to sell. Basically, everything I knew – or thought I knew – about food was completely debunked through this class. To be quite honest, that did frustrate me at times. My complete notion about food, the whole happy-go-lucky idea I possessed of it, was completely overshadowed by the negative side of things I learned during this class. I think what bothered me the most was how I felt personally called out. Not only were my food decisions were questioned but my morals and ethics as well.
I mean the food industry is messed up. Really messed up. It affects animals, the environment, and even ourselves in various negative ways.
One of the first things we did in the course was watch the PETA video “Meet your Meat”. Let me just say, I never want to watch that again. It’s the kind of video I had heard of multiple times before, the video that turns people vegetarian. Innocent animals brutally maimed and tortured, slaughtered while still alive, the other animals forced to watch what will soon happen to them while squealing and crying. Some of them can move, others are so sick and incapacitated that they just have to wait for a barbaric worker to throw them in the pile (“Meat your Meat”). That’s the saddest thing about the whole system – its humans acting in this manner that is truly savage and monstrous. Its humans that are “thumping” piglets (bashing them head first onto the concrete floor), putting chickens in cages smaller than this page, and raising animals to be just on the brink of death because it’s the most cost-efficient method (Foer 108-182).
Say you don’t care about the animals, then what about the environment? Not just the area you live but that in which your future generations will inhabit? The factory farm system is not only unsustainable but is the leading cause of global warming (Cowspiracy). That’s right, it’s not your car, or leaving your lights or AC on, or leaving your chargers plugged in while you’re not using them (my personal favorite that I’ve seen on posters around in my dorm). Nope, it’s what you’re eating. It’s the immense and utterly ridiculous scale that animal agriculture is practiced. If you want to even call it agriculture anymore, it’s a lot more similar to engineering nowadays.
That’s part of why what we eat is so unhealthy for us now. It’s harder to find things naturally grown than it is to find processed foods containing GMOs among other things. Health problems associated with weight – diabetes, obesity, etc. – have skyrocketed in recent years and are now manifesting earlier and earlier in age. The food industry is making a science experiment out of children today (Foer 110). It really has turned into an “emerging epidemic” (Fed Up).
This is directly linked into what we focused more in the second quarter of this class – dishonesty. Talk about something else that will blow your mind. Basically our world and honestly the human experience as a whole are centered around lying. When it comes to the food industry, dishonesty is not only present within factory farmers refusing to let people know what the inside of their establishments look like but especially when it comes to advertising. They sell chemicals and sugars and unsustainable foods under the cover of bright colors and catchy phrases. And that’s what keeps people like you and me from figuring out the truth. That’s what makes people like me surprised on the first day of their Food Critical Thinking and Writing class.
—————————— Works Cited ———————————
Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret. Directed by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, 2014.
Fed Up. Directed by Stephanie Soechtig, The Weinstein Company, 2014.
Foer, Jonathan Safran. Eating Animals. Little, Brown and Company, 2009.
“Disney Gif.” Giphy, uploaded by Forthedisneylove, 2013, giphy.com/gifs/disney-pinocchio-pvO8ugi72HKww. Accessed 19 Mar. 2017.
Matawaran, Nelson. Poultry. Inquirer.Net, lifestyle.inquirer.net/48725/joseph-calata-self-made-billionaire-at-31/. Accessed 19 Mar. 2017.
“Meet Your Meat.” Youtube, uploaded by PETA, 14 Mar. 2012, http://www.peta.org/videos-meet-your-meat/. Accessed 10 Mar. 2017.
Mind blown meme. Memesuper,img.memesuper.com/de89094eb95ad0fc53df70705 b8f5ede_ mind-blown-memes-mind-blown_500-498.jpeg. Accessed 19 Mar. 2017.
Ross “Im fine” meme. Me.Me, me.me/i/college-twitter-hows-college-going-voice329586. Accessed 19 Mar. 2017.
Skool of Vegan. leading cause of global warming. MySite,exposingthebiggame.wordpress. com/2014/12/08/ livestock-is-the-biggest-cause-of-climate-change/. Accessed 19 Mar. 2017.
That’s so Raven Gif. PopKey, popkey.co/m/3RzAY-oh+snap-thats+so+raven-trouble. Accessed 19 Mar. 2017.
Theberry. Tacos. Pinterest, s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/de/f8/9d/def89d1fe594 dfc89d928808849bb77c.jpg. Accessed 19 Mar. 2017.