Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

24 June 2012

Do You Eat Ethically?

With our busy schedules, we eat out a lot. We aren't foodies, so we stick to the casual fast-food circuit and neighborhood eateries. When we eat out, we tip around 20%. Neither of us have worked as servers in a formal restaurant. My experience with food service came working the deep fryer at Santa's Village making fries and pizza puffs. Then there was my stint at the movie theater concession stand (you can survive on free popcorn & nachos). Both of those jobs, that I held in the 1990s, paid more than most restaurant workers earn today -- $2.13.

Do you know what $2.13 buys you? Well it doesn't buy the workers much in terms of health care, so you get sick people making your food from the deli on the corner to the fancy restaurant that requires an act of God to get a reservation.

I was excited to learn about Behind the Kitchen Door, which is an upcoming new book written by Saru Jayaraman, Co-Director of ROC United. You really need to watch the book trailer:



Then click over to the book site to keep up to date on its progress!

There's much more to do than just getting these workers a pay raise. We need to see our food as more than just what is on our plate, but see the people who get it there. 

2 comments:

I'm not a fan of "ethical consumerism". The way it's carried out seems very akin to a cart-before-the-horse way of going about things. Wage slavery and poverty didn't come out of nowhere, and I would argue that it makes more sense to look at the roots of the system rather than focus on eating/consuming things from "good" producers, etc.

Julia -- Would love it if you could expand on it! Intrigued.

Are you saying to get more into the issue than just how much our servers are paid? Perhaps to how much the people who produce the raw ingredients get paid? Where's the root for you?