My journey with food has been long, slow, and a lot more complicated than I ever imagined it could be. But I’m so glad I’m on it.
In elementary school, I wanted to be a chef. I made my own menus with illegible handwriting, and phonetic spelling. But as I grew up, and especially during high school (@ California Academy of Mathematics and Science, aka CAMS), my dream of working with food in any way unconsciously slid to the back of my mind. Technology, science, math, and money pushed its way to the front, as I was constantly stimulated and molded by teachings and advice to be “successful,” and make money.
My transition out of hard science academics (pre-med, engineering, what have you) or typical “successful” social sciences (pre-law type thangs), and into focusing on food has been conflicted because it’s not where professional money is, and it’s “wasting my intelligence.” When I began to announce my decision to make my own interdisciplinary major surrounding food, I got support from some people, but the majority of reactions I received were disappointing. For the first time in my academic life, I was no longer seen as a shining intellectual with so much potential to go far in life. Instead of, “Wow, yes, food changes the world.” I got, “Why? You’re so smart! You should go back to science and math.” Someone close to my heart completely ignored my attempt to talk to them about food as my major and career, and instead kept telling me of a technology program not far from Berkeley.
I internalized these reactions, became somewhat insecure about my decisions, and felt the need to be extremely defensive about my studies and the life path I had chosen. Which is partially why I started this blog. To write about WHY FOOD STUDIES IS SO GOD DAMN IMPORTANT, and question WHY IS IT SO GOD DAMN UNDERVALUED, MISUNDERSTOOD, AND TAKEN FOR GRANTED?!
But… being here at Berkeley, Cal, has helped make me confident in following my intuitions and passion for food, food culture, food sustainability, food politics, etc. My classes at this university on food and natural resources, or just on culture, have taught me that the importance of food in a community is never-ending, but unfortunately is often completely overlooked. So much of life is affected by, and revolves around, food. For me, now, I am proud to say I study food and want to work with food because FOOD is JUST AS important, if not more than engineering and medical science (NOT to demean those studies or careers AT ALL. Much love for those engineers and doctors saving lives and changing the world).
And I would NOW like to write this blog to share my love of food in this world, and to spread what I have learned about food, and this nation’s & this world’s food systems. I reserve my right to a subjective opinion, and welcome discussions!
With love and respect,