Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What We Have in Common: An Unremittingly Warm and Fuzzy Post of Thanksgiving Squishiness

Liberals avoid fast food and love ethnic dishes.

Conservatives choose fattier meals and don’t eat much fruit.

While these statements may sound like stereotypes, they actually come from “How Food Preferences Vary by Political Ideology,” the results of an eight-month survey conducted by Thousands of self-identified left- and right-wingers participated, answering questions about everything from pizza toppings to apple corers. And with few exceptions (hot dogs: uniters, not dividers), findings were pretty much what we’ve been conditioned to expect. Essentially, conservatives appreciate traditional, mainstream, and unhealthy foods, while liberals love them some arugula.

Here’s the thing - if the survey went beyond diet soda and bacon cheeseburgers into core values, I think it’d find we have much more in common. At least, I find that to be true about CHG readers.

See, I’ve kept this blog for a few years now, and it tends to attract a pretty diverse demographic: rural homeschoolers, urban vegans, novice cooks, ardent foodies, Southern grandmas, Brooklyn collegiates, broke singles, young couples, middle-aged divorcees, Christians, atheists, lawyers, waiters, and occasionally, my mother. (Hi, Ma.) If anything, the discussions we have lead me to believe that certain beliefs transcend politics.

To wit: on the whole, we believe food is to be respected and enjoyed. We see cooking as a learning experience, a valuable skill, and an expression of love. We’re not wasteful. We’re not materialistic. We’re not excessive. We DO strive for balance. We DO embrace moderation. We ARE frugal (in the best sense of the word). We want what’s best for the environment. We want what’s best for our families. We want what’s best for our bodies. We can always, always learn from each other, whether we’re gun toting, meat-eating Palin fans or gluten-free hippies from the bluest of blue state communes.

These are all good things. And in the end, maybe they're what I dig most about CHG, and even the country in general. At heart, the stuff that unites us is much greater than the stuff that drives us crazy.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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