Monday, December 29, 2008

Cheap Food for Parties

Fondue reputedly started out as a winter survival food of Swiss peasants, who discovered stale bread and cheese tasted better if you melted the cheese and dipped the bread in while all huddled around the pot for warmth.

It seems to be a common trend, that the cheap food of former centuries becomes a luxury or celebratory item in later years. Like the lutefisk my grandmother hoarded at Christmas (she said it didn't stink if you learned how to cook it properly), which must have begun as a way to try to consume dry fish over a long, cold, Norwegian winter.

The main reason the price goes up so much is that we are no longer in the same area or willing to do the work ourselves. If we milked our own goats and grew our own rye, no doubt it would be just as cheap to use up the leftovers huddled around the fire.

This does not describe the food that is currently cheap, which is instead mass-produced and shipped everywhere.

So it probably isn't true that future generations will have pricey but treasured bowls of steaming Top Ramen as a special feast day tradition.

1 comment:

Steve said...

College students around the world would disagree with you. The holiday being celebrated is "X days until payday", with more kids joining in the smaller X gets.