Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · Relearning how to eat
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Relearning how to eat

Robert Downes - May 12th, 2008
Relearning How to Eat
There’s a touch of suspense in our visits to the grocery store these days. We creep cautiously over to the milk aisle, bracing for the price. If it’s under $3 a gallon, a small victory has been won, but the trend seems to be heading in the other direction, and someday I suppose that $3 milk will be just a misty memory.
So, put this in the “One More Thing to Worry About” file: the rising cost
of food.
Those of you who buy milk each week probably don’t need a bunch of fancy statistics to underline the fact that food is getting more expensive, but here goes:
Food prices went up by four percent last year on top of 2.4 percent the year before, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. And prices could rise as much as 10 percent this year.
So, let’s be optimists and assume the worst: by 2009, food prices could be up as much as 16.4 percent of what you paid in 2005.
But some staples have gone even higher: in the past year alone, milk rose 13.3 percent, white bread went up 16.3 percent, and eggs were up 29.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A record 28 million Americans will be on food stamps this year.
Even so, we’re light years away from the food riots that took place recently in Cameroon and Egypt: the Department of Agriculture reports that Americans spent just 5.8 percent of their incomes on food in 2006, which is far less than the citizens of other countries.
But that’s probably small comfort if you’re traveling from the gas station to the grocery store.
Who are the culprits in rising food prices? They are many, but somehow, they all circle back to ourselves.
• In India and China, for instance, people have a higher standard of living and are eating much better these days, thanks to all of the flatscreen TVs, video games, tainted dog food and other stuff they’ve sold to American consumers. That means higher prices for grain, rice, fish and meat over here in Consumerland.
• Then too, one-fifth of the U.S. corn crop was diverted to produce ethanol last year. We’re literally feeding corn to our automobiles instead of to chickens, hogs and cattle. That means higher prices for chicken, pork and beef are coming to a grocery store near you soon.
• Higher fuel prices for shipping foods to market are being passed on to consumers. It makes you wonder how much longer we’ll be eating tomatoes from Holland, strawberries from Mexico and shrimp from Thailand, among other imported foods.
• Global warming is the 600-ton Godzilla on the table whose effect on food prices remains unknown. Record heat waves have already destroyed crops around the world -- such as 36 percent of Italy’s corn crop in 2003, according to Newsweek. “Overall, global warming will bring more rainfall,” notes science writer Sharon Begley in Newsweek. “But rainfall has been coming in fits and starts -- dry spells interrupted by deluges. This is a prescription for withering crops and then washing them away.”
• Big news recently was the fact that Costco and Sam’s Club started limiting customers to two or three bags of rice. It’s not that the world is running out of rice: it’s simply that India, China, Vietnam and Thailand are cutting back on their imports in order to meet rising demand in their own countries. The price of their fancy for-import-only basmati rice rose from $850 per ton to $2,000 this past year.
There’s not much we can do as individuals about the price of rice in China or droughts in Italy. And we may be stuck with the price of staples like milk and eggs, the same as we‘re stuck at the gas pump.
But there are some things we can do to take charge of our own lives and cut costs.
For starters, we could relearn how to eat. That involves simply eating less, which is the norm throughout the world.
It’s common knowledge that Americans have an obesity problem. Currently, 60 percent of adult Americans are overweight, and it’s predicted that by 2020, half of all American children will be overweight if current trends continue.
Yet, it‘s almost impossible not to gain weight with the huge food portions we‘ve come to accept as normal in America.
That‘s not the case beyond our borders. In most of the world, for instance, meat is considered more of a garnish than the main event at a meal. Outside of America and a few Western countries like Germany, people don’t eat hunks of meat the size of bricks for dinner and consider that “normal.” They typically use a few shreds of meat -- a palmful at most -- in their rice or pasta, along with plenty of vegetables.
Also, a sandwich overseas is more on par with what we’d consider a snack here -- it’s small and waistline-friendly.
Many fine restaurants already practice the less-is-more philosophy, concentrating on flavor, rather than heaping portions.
But, if you believe that you need a shovel-full of food on your plate for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day, then switching to a Weight Watchers-style diet is probably a bitter cruel, unthinkable idea.
Also worth noting: inexpensive home cooking has become something of a lost art in America. How many young people do you know who get most of their meals from fast food restaurants or rely on processed foods? It‘s a recipe for poor nutrition as well as a hefty food bill.
Maybe it’s time to return to the home economic skills our grandparents took for granted: Things like slimming down your diet, planting a garden, and relearning how to cook inexpensive, healthful meals out of soups, casseroles or the kind of nutritious “peasant” cuisines of stir-fries and wraps that are popular all over the world. The brave new Age of Thrift seems to be here at last. It’s time to adapt -- or pay dearly.
 
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