It is August. Of 2012. Summer Olympics. Again. Didn’t we just see the Olympics?
When I was young, adults would tell me “time flies,” and I would roll my eyes in disbelief. After all, that clock on the wall moved as slow as molasses going from 2:44 to 2:45 to signal the end of the school day. As I get older, however, it doesseem as if time flies by at record time (not unlike Phelps). Some things are so different, like….it seemed only yesterday Beanie Baby, aka Mister Strong, made his debut. Well, more recently, Chewbacca has joined his big brother. I got to meet Chewbacca who, (no joke) makes the loudest, Chewy-like grunts.
Yet some things…as the old adage goes: “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” might have been on to something.
We’re supposed to be in some sort of post-racial, tolerant, everyone-gets-along world, aren’t we? In a food industry and system that appears to be swinging towards care of plants, animals, and people, I sometimes become convinced that farmer’s markets and artisanal restaurants are the norm. That buying food from neighbors meant you cared about how their food is grown or raised, not the color of their skin or who their spouse is. Rather, the exchange of food meant a greater understanding and embracing of “the Other.”
Unfortunately, somethings still don’t seem to be changing enough.
This week, Huffington Post reported a decrease in Chick-Fil-A‘s brand when an interview with its president came out. The President of the fast food chain spoke about his support of the “Biblical definition of the marriage unit.” In response, there have been no less than seven petitions on Change.org to boycott the restaurant chain. Mayor Thomas Menino of Boston has declared that Boston has no room for enterprises with such stances.
This is not the first time Chick-Fil-A has come under scrutiny. Far less know are some reports that came out earlier this year by a UC-Irvine student of anti-Asian American behavior. Two separate customers received this as their guest IDs. If you think it’s funny, think again.
Of course, Chick-Fil-A is not the only outlet whose behaviors have raised some serious concern. A customer at a New York Papa John’s received this one.
Why isn’t there more outcry? Don’t tell me it’s oversensitivity – imagine you or your son heading out for a quick bite and being ridiculed or reminded that you don’t belong or are “wrong” because of your race or gender or sexual orientation, and tell me why you’re being too sensitive.
Can restaurant chains and players in the food industry ignore the fact that they play integral roles in our larger society? If we vote with our forks, then who do we hold accountable for behaviors that are contrary to a just, tolerant, and fair society (I won’t even begin to touch the responsibility about a physically healthy and fit society here…)? Can we put aside our own moral or ethical behaviors because the food just tastes good?
Certainly, most brands will say it is not their fault, but that it is the behavior of a few individuals. At what point then, do we keep overlooking corporate responsibility?
Everyone is entitled to his or own opinion. However, when those opinions are directly opposing your own value system or personal beliefs, you have a choice. As tasty as those chicken nuggets or pizza are, where you choose to put your dollars can hold organizations and its employees accountable. I’d like to think that by the time Chewbacca and his big brother are my age, these “incidences” will be way far and few between because we will, as a society, recognize that the power we have as consumers, that what and where we choose to eat speaks loudly of our tolerance for a better world.
That would be change for the better. And hope it comes quickly.
What I hope will not change is good food, especially sweet, classic desserts. After all, it is around good food that we discover that we are all really just the same. Human beings, from birth on, love sweet flavors, so let’s celebrate a hopeful future with a classic dish that does not need any changing: the Clafouti, a French custard-like dessert with fruit.
(from Institute of Culinary Education in New York City)
2 lbs cherries/blueberries/peaches/pears/apricots/apples (pitted, cored, cut into ¼ inch slices)
¾ cups flour
¾ cups sugar
8 oz heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 400F
2. Butter and flour 2-quart baking dish.
3. Put fruit in pie dish.
4. Combine flour and sugar and blend well.
5. In small bowl, combine eggs, cream and vanilla. Whisk until well blended.
6. Put well in center of flour mixture and slowly (but not too slowly, in a thin stream), whisk in the egg mixture. It should form a smooth batter.
7. Rest for 20 minutes.
8. Pour batter over the fruit and bake until batter has just set and surface is light gold (25-30 minutes).
9. Sprinkle a bit of confectioner’s sugar right before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: if using apples or pears, sauté first in 3 TB of butter over medium heat until lightly browned (about 7-10 minutes). Sprinkle with 2TB sugar and sauté 3 minutes longer.