I think a big reason behind the gargantuan rise of DIY (do-it-yourself crafts, repairs, cooking, publishing, etc.) is my generation’s lack of trust in our predecessors. Personally, I have qualms about putting my trust in the government. This is not to say that there aren’t good people in there- there are, as well as duds- but as a whole, I don’t feel comfortable letting that rusty machine control my life any more than I must let it.
While packaged dinners and pre-cooked meals may have been the joy of the 60’s, nowadays we are all on the lookout for what’s exactly in our food. We’ve learned that labels often mislead consumers, that added sugar winds up in everything from marinara sauce to hot dogs, and that genetically modified foods may pass from farm to eater without any notification (personally, I’m ambivalent about GMOs, but let’s not go into that.)
The Milennials have gathered baskets of advice from their parents about how to, well, be a functioning society member. While we do often heed that advice, we’re apt to jump into the internet and collect advice in a more big data analysis fashion. As a science-minded individual, I see great logic in this approach. However, someone who believes in the power of individual people and their experiences might find this offensive and dehumanizing.
I think DIY is the greatest thing ever. I’ve always loved crafts, recycling toilet paper tubes into who knows what, and of course, cooking. However, as I age, I notice my energy wavering and my free time plummeting. If I could devote hours of the day to cook for my family (it’d have to be more than just my parents, as it is at the moment)- meals as well as “the basics” like mayonnaise and butter (yes, a small farm is part of that utopia), I’d be thrilled. If I could afford to buy all the ingredients to make my own shampoo and face wash and toothpaste, I’d feel so content with the level of control over what is affecting my body. However, since I don’t have those luxuries, I have to find a way to balance out that need for control and how much I can spend on an organic peach. Luckily, there are lots of tools such as lists that explain which fruits and veg you really should buy organic and which aren’t (hint: delicate fruits like blueberries and peaches are better organic because you eat their thin skins while bananas and pineapples are okay not being organic because you peel off their exterior before enjoying them.) Whole Foods has a peanut butter blender in-store so you can know exactly what’s in that jar: un/salted, peanuts/almonds/whatever, just your level of chunkiness, etc.
Are we just being impressively responsible for inquiring about how we feed ourselves, or control freaks, or both?
Portlandia did a legendary sketch about a couple going out to dinner and asking a bajillion questions about the welfare of their soon-to-be-eaten chicken. You’ll love it.
So, where does that trust go? Ourselves? Does it just disappear?