Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy (Burp) Holiday

I am stuffed. I have eaten non-stop since Friday morning on the last day of school. We celebrated the end of the school year.

Then Saturday we kicked off celebrating the holiday weekend with a cookout. We had burgers and all the sides you could imagine. I know I munched enough chips to sink a ship.

Today we continued the celebration with BBQ sandwiches and every starchy side imaginable at a family get-together.

Tomorrow we'll round out the weekend with more hamburgers and too much party food.

It's like Thanksgiving for four days straight. It's the American way.

But, why?

Why do family & friend get-togethers require a gross display of way too much food? Even if we go out to eat, the appetizers, main course and desserts are big enough to make you have to unbutton your pants.

I guess it doesn't sound very much fun to invite friends over for a fasting holiday. But is it necessary to have enough food to support an entire village in Haiti for a year at one family gathering?

I know traditionally Americans have used big feasts to celebrate holidays and special occasions. But that was in a time when we ate 85% less in general. A big feast was in order.

Today, our culture has made every meal have special foods available for our consumption. You can buy a wedding cake on a Thursday just because you want some. In times past, cakes of any kind were something eaten only several times a year. Tomorrow you could go to a restaurant and have any kind of cultural cuisine used previously on special high festival occasions. Originally, these delicacies were reserved only for for the occasion.

Nothing today is "special." We are continuously looking to "treat" ourselves. We've been told over and over again we "deserve" it. We are "entitled" to it.

I propose we start a new trend: 4th of July is the next big holiday. Why don't we all vow to serve less, eat less & visit with each other more. We don't need five kinds of chips. What's up with potato salad, pasta salad, green salad, green beans and deviled eggs? How about just two sides? If there are only going to be ten people, we probably don't need to cook 35 hotdogs. And after eating all that food, maybe popsicles would suffice, instead of pie, cake, cupcakes and ice cream.

Let's make desserts be occasional and small. Let's have simpler, smaller meals as a rule, and have feasts be special. Let's make our feasts be reasonable, and not so indulgent and over-the-top.

We are Americans: Home of the Free. But freedom doesn't mean gluttony. Freedom comes with the responsibility to be good stewards of our goods so that we can continue on. And it means helping others by sharing our resources.

This weekend, even as we have our cook outs, let's be especially appreciative of our food. And of our service men and women who fight for us to be free.

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