the secret cook is everywhere

I was on an airplane browsing through a recent Inculture report when a curious/friendly co passenger leaned over my shoulder and asked: “Do you work with ecological food?” The report-title included the term “ecological” so the question wasn’t too far-fetched. I found myself nodding, not in the mood to explain anthropology (hmm) whereupon he started to inform me about his eating habits. He precede by telling me that he gave his children Rosehip soup (nyponsoppa), something that caught my attention since I, just the other day, found a packet of dry powder rosehip soup mix in my kitchen (that expired in 2007) thinking: “Hmm, in all of my household studies I have never seen anyone mix a dry powder rosehip soup. I have to ask my coworkers about this.” So… I asked the man about his relationship to Rosehip soup where upon he asked me if I thought it was unhealthy to give this soup to children since I asked so many questions. I told him that I had no idea (and that I hope it’s good since my generation grew up on it) and that I am actually not a food expert of any kind. He sighed relieved explaining that the only reason he had gone on about his food habits was that he had gotten a bad “eating” conscious when he thought that this was my field of expertise. So my question is, has this moral food panic gone too far when people feel obliged to give an account for and justify their eating habits to strangers?


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