Food of Personal Importance

I have higher expectations for some foods than others. Personally, I am very particular about burger quality; and that’s not only because in Boise, Idaho, my home town, there are tons of small burger joints riddled across the valley; but also, my family’s culture has been the same across several generations in terms of meat production and consumption. My father’s side of the family hardly ever buys meat because we farm and hunt. I have never had to buy ground beef or pre-made hamburger patties from the store. My grandfather always talks about how store foods are so processed that they mess with the human body. He talks about the importance of health and the harm of the preservatives and chemicals companies use on their animals. The family also has a bias on how much better our food tastes because we contributed to the making of it from the very beginning.
I used to hate having to harvest meat from the animal; the room in which we cut the animal was cold and smelly and my entire family smokes cigarettes so all-in-all it was not a pleasant experience for us younger folk. I used to always ask my dad “Why don’t I get paid for this?” and he would always return with something like “You get paid in a year’s worth of food.” That horrible answer made me a vegetarian for a year. At the time, I thought of it to be some genius scheme to make a bunch of money but when the next harvesting time came I asked my dad again if I could get paid and he went on talking to me about how it is my obligation as a member of the family to contribute to providing food for the household; whether I ate the food or not was not a deciding factor on whether or not I should help harvest the meat. Right then, the importance of my family’s meat became real to me. This realization strengthened my burger bias ten fold.

-Brayden Wickel

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