Dear Editor: I write in response to “Rich People Won’t Eat It” by Jane Snyder. Modern Quakers in the communities I am familiar with (PYM and Australia YM) have a wide range of dietary needs and preferences – probably much wider than the general population. I posit that, far from joining modern fads, Quakers are actually ahead of the wider society in tuning into our bodies. We are (or were, and hopefully are returning to be) a somatic religion, which means we tune in to our bodies. Food intolerance can arise not just from medical issues, such as being celiac, but also as a result of trauma and environmental sensitivities, which highlight the plight of our earth. Others make careful choices on what they eat from deeply held ethical positions.
Shopping for things like dairy-free cheese is one option, but many of us with dietary restrictions actually eat more simply because we focus on fruits, vegetables, nuts, and less-processed foods. In fact, the more simple you keep it, the more people can join in – like baked potatoes! I will be making hummus for our preschool potluck – an ancient dish which is simple, delicious, and also naturally vegan and gluten-free.
I hope we can all engage with those around us who have particular diets to learn more about why Friends eat what they do. As we share these things, we become closer in Spirit. Caring for others’ dietary needs can be a deeply meaningful form of demonstrating care and love – just ask anyone who has been to a Western Young Friends gathering where inclusion of all, including all dietary needs, is the norm. Thanks
– Sally Kingsland, Strawberry Creek Meeting (PYM)