Thursday, July 29, 2010

Humorous Aside: 4 men in an apartment ...... and their food

A funny personal anecdote on food, communal living and multiculturalism.

This past weekend I had a great time visiting my friend Ronesh who has moved out of Toronto west of the city. Ronesh is from India and moved to Canada to study at University. When he was in undergrad he shared a 4 bedroom apartment with a guy from Canada, a guy from Iran and a guy from China. On the weekend Ronesh was telling me a funny story about back when they all started living together.

It turns out there was initially a proposal to approach shared living from a communal point of view: that is, people wanted to share the costs of food and thus everyone would have access to all the food in the house. The Canadian guy, the Indian guy and the Iranian guy were all happy to try this plan. It turns out the Chinese guy would have nothing of that and elected out of the rest of the apartment dweller's experiment with communist based living.

We joked on the weekend about how maybe the reason for his rejection of the plan was because of China's history of forcing communism on the masses: any experience of that sort of thing will be enough to make anyone reject communism.

The joke continues as two of the three who chose to eat communally (the Indian and the Iranian) quickly began getting annoyed at how much food the Canadian ate!

(it turns out the average Canadian eats 3532 calories per day, the average Iranian eats 3043 calories per day and the average Indian eats 2351 calories per day - source here. Out of interest the average Chinese person eats 2980 calories per day)

The disproportionate national calorie consumption rates were made worse because the Canadian roommate was both a varsity rugby player and a reasonably big guy.

I've written many times in this blog (see below) about the problems in world food production and distribution (ie. that many people don't get enough nutrients, many of whom starve to death). Countries like Canada produce way more food than they need to feed their populations and as such could be making a much greater contribution towards alleviating the world's food crisis. In this context I found this story particularly amusing since it involves people coming from poorer countries to live with and subsidize the food of a citizen of this wealthy high consuming nation (Canada).