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The Pleasures of Eating by Wendell Berry Response

January 17, 2012

The reading “The Pleasure of Eating” by Wendell Berry describes the current ignorance of American food consumers. Consumer’s today think of themselves as only consumers, not participants in agriculture. American’s eat blindly, they buy what is simple and cheap, and eating has become something to be done quick and easy. Wendell Berry want’s consumers to know what they’re eating, and try to educate themselves so that they can become active participants in American agriculture, instead of being just “passive and uncritical” consumers.
Overall, I agree with what the author is writing. I do believe that the food industry’s main focus has become volume and price, they are worried about providing food for consumers, as cheap as possible, to make money. I also agree that majority of people do not bother to find out what is in their food, how it is made, where it is grown, etc. However, I myself do try to eat organic and healthier foods when possible. Being a student at college makes this harder, because I am unable to pick the food being served at cafeterias and local restaurants. But when at home, I try to buy healthier choices at the grocery stores, and stay away from the fast food restaurants, which are so popular. I do believe that there are other people out there like me, who are trying to become more educated on healthier choices. Unfortunately, as Wendell Berry makes clear, majority of consumers do not.
I think the author’s intended meaning was for American’s to realize they too take part in the agriculture of our country; they must fight against persuasion of industrial America, and learn what they are eating and ways to eat healthier. Wendell Berry conveys this through exaggeration and repetition of ideas. More than once she calls consumer’s “passive, uncritical, and dependent”, along with supporting facts to why consumer’s today fit these criteria. By repetition of these ideas, she helped drill the reality of the situation into the reader’s head. I think exaggeration comes in when the author describes the future “dream home”, in which people shop on a TV monitor and cook packaged food by remote control. Personally, I think this is an exaggeration, and cannot see this happening to myself any time, but this slight exaggeration helps reader see the extremity of what is happening. Overall, I think the author conveyed her message successfully, and I personally will start thinking more about the food I buy and eat.


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