As a child, I wouldn’t say I liked vegetables. And above all else, chicory and turnip. But I could stand spinach because my grandmother cooked it with butter and because I wanted to become strong like Popeye.
Even soups, in general, I could stand them badly. But my mother knew just enough about cooking to feed four children, and a husband often played the card, “think of the children in Africa,” especially in those soups that I thought were too liquid and uninteresting.
In those years, we kids were not as bright as (perhaps) today’s generations and did not allow ourselves to retort. But, we kept thinking that the baby in Africa hardly cared whether we had eaten the soup. But so be it: you ate what was on your plate and did not get up from the table unless everyone had finished their meal.
Then time passes, tastes change, and consciences are formed. As the idiots we were – and perhaps still are – we have contributed to building a society based on consumption. And the “too-liquid soup” that we resented, we justified by creating philosophical currents or borrowing exotic religions that were comfortable to us with names as simple as they were categorical: veganism, crudism, fruitarianism, and on and on as far as the imagination could find ground.
I was raised with a lot of certainties and some values. You could call it education, but I don’t want to be wrong. For a long time, chicory remained bitter to me, turnips stank, and soups that were too liquid were still dull. Then, I started to travel. And my comfortable little world built on the many certainties and a few values began to falter. Among the things I have come to know sometimes, with the good fortune of being able to understand them, is that people often do not get to the end of the day with a dish to wash in the evening.
Children in Africa will continue not to give a damn if we don’t finish the plate in front of us. But the consciousness of our beautiful, comfortable world, of the society that all our generations have contributed to building — must lead us, at some point, to understand that everything has a price and that the Cashier … lies at the bottom.
There, at the bottom of that tunnel, full of people who dare to tell: …But did you know there is a world where people leave food on their plates? Maybe one day it will come to you too..
There is a world. Just go and find it. And it has no fancy labels.