The Wednesday Word: 11 August 2021

I began reading Mark Bittman’s Animal, Vegetable, Junk this week. This might be another formative book. It is trending in that direction. Bittman is tackling our recently soured relationship to food. I can say from experience that this is a daunting writing project, one that I approach obliquely in most of my writing. So I am already impressed by this book; you will hear more on it.

For our entire biological history up until the last few hundred years we were just animals doing what animals do — eating. Like all animals, we did what we could to secure our food source, to be confidant that we could eat tomorrow and feed our children into their future. All animals do this, we only call it farming when humans wield the tools. And we only recently began to worship those tools over the farm, over the food that those tools help secure. Now we hardly see the food for the tools, in pride of place with our much vaunted ingenuity. We don’t see our hands at all, nor the hands who feed us. We have largely forgotten that to live is to eat. We believe that belief elevates us above and beyond this feeding body.

And we never acknowledge the sacrifice in embodiment any more. For an animal body, to live is to eat — and to eat is death. And we are not grateful.

We are sick. We think we have risen. We have only fallen into blindness. This is the essence of our many dilemmas. We no longer make food, we make food systems.

Wednesday Word

for 11 August 2021


You can respond in the comments below or make a Twitter post to the Wednesday Word. Either way, begin your response with #food. Your response can be anything made from words. I love poetry, but anything can be poetic and you needn’t even be limited to poetics. An observation, a story, a thought. Might even be an image — however, I am not a visual person, so it has to work harder to convey meaning. In the spirit of word prompts, it’s best if you use the word; but I’m not even a stickler about that. Especially if you can convey the meaning without ever touching the word.

If responding in Twitter, you are limited to the forms of Twitter. I would prefer that there be no threads because that is difficult. So if you have something long, post it in the comments below. That said, please don’t go too long. Keep it under 2000 words. I’m not going to count, but I’m also not promising to read a novel. Unless it’s really good!

If I receive something particularly impressive, I’ll post it next week. If not, well, that’s fine too. I know you all are busy. But if you’ve read this far, then I’ve made you think about… food.

the flow

i and you
in this dance
flowing life
from one to the other
you give
i receive
green sustenance
you create
i unmake
you, me
to feed is death
no breath
without you
no spark
without me
no me, no you
without this arc
my nourishment
are you
your nurture
am i
we are each other
child and mother
are we two
to you, to me
become we
in this dance
of life

©Elizabeth Anker 2021

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