If Your Food Could Speak...
Reitaku Mizunami Middle School
If your food could speak, what would it say? It might say, 'Use less salt,' or, 'Cut more fat!" It might even say, 'Don't forget to eat your vegetables!' Why am I asking this question? Well, I believe each peace of food has a story to tell. Beef, port, chicken, fish, even fruits and vegetables. They were all alive before they came to our plates. But do we really stop to consider that? I don't think so. In the supermarket, meat is wrapped and displayed nicely. So when we buy it, we don't think about its past, only its future. We say, 'Wow! That sure looks delicious!' Most people never see how cows become beef, or pigs become pork. I experienced it once. And I believe, if everyone could see it once, it would change the way they think about food.
At my home, we raise chickens. They are very nice animals to have around you. They are small, gentle and they make pleasant sounds, except the rooster. He's always waking me up too early. For a long time, I didn't connect the chickens in our yard and the chicken we had for dinner. The one day, I was invited to see how chickens become chicken. I was shocked! It seemed so cruel! I went back into my house, and told my mother what I saw. She said, "Now you know. When we kill an animal for food, we have a special responsibility." I thought about what I'd seen, and what she said. And soon, I realized what she meant.
Many people believe we must kill animals for food. When we do, we are ending a life. It's a bad thing, but it can't be helped. After all, we have to eat. But there is something we can do to make things better. We can make sure nothing is wasted. Never throw away fresh meat, and never let fresh meat go bad. That is our duty. I believe we should remember this every time we cook and eat. Lots of parents say to their kids, "People are starving around the world, so finish your dinner." Well, I can think of another good reason to always finish our food. We should remember where our food comes from. We should think of the creatures that provide us with our delicious meals. If we do this, and waste nothing they give us, we'll be doing two wonderful things. We'll be using less. That leaves more for other people. And we'll be showing our respect for the animals that give us our food.
Each piece of meat and product has a price in the supermarket. But it has even greater value. It adds to the rich variety of foods we can choose from every day. It keeps us fit and healthy. And it has the highest value of all, life. Each item was once alive. So, every piece of food is important. And each has something to say. Of course, food can't speak. But if it could, what would it say? It might comment on the spices you use. It might say you need cooking lessons. But I believe it would say, 'Enjoy your meal. And please remember to eat every single bite (except the bones)!'
(2-29 Speech in 54th Contest, 2002)
(C)JNSA FUND/the Yomiuri Shimbun
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