Of the many consequences of the coronavirus crisis, one of the most under-discussed, and concerning in the long-term, is that of food shortages. In the UK and elsewhere, much has been made of panic-buying and stockpiling. We fill our shelves with supplies we don’t need, in quantities which deny the more vulnerable members of society their rightful share. Less often documented is how protectionist measures by governments around the world could result in an overall restriction on the flow of food.
According to a Bloomberg report, wheat exports have been restricted by Kazakhstan and Russia, two of the biggest global providers of the grain. Vietnam, third only to India and Thailand in the scale of rice exports, has temporarily suspended its export contracts. Though the problem is not immediately apparent now, it will only worsen in the coming weeks and months, a period in which lockdown is set to continue. Food prices will rise in nations, like the UK, which rely on a high level of imports. This will put huge strain on families from a lower socio-economic background, those who may struggle to feed their children.
I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection.
Government studies corroborate that a young and healthy child is a source of nourishment far outweighing much of what can be found in your local Tesco. A cheap, accessible option for families frustrated at a continuing absence of tortellini, the infant can be stewed, roasted, or boiled, and would no doubt go well in a broth, or alongside some iceberg lettuce.
Though families cannot help it if their offspring are of advanced age, it is advisable to consume only progeny under the age of five. By the teenage years, the flesh has become overly tough and lean. More than that, it is very possible that by this stage the boy or girl may have engendered some kind of emotional attachment from their parents. It is better, then, to involve a child whose age will not provoke any moral qualms.
For those who are feeling particularly thrifty, any leftover skin can be adapted for use as a protective face mask, or even to fashion a nice pair of boots for that daily walk. A baby which has been well-fed in its first year of life should weigh around 25 pounds. If properly rationed, the child’s meat could be eaten over a course of at least two months.
Even in these times of lockdown, when comfort food may seem like the most tempting option, it is important that we eat sensibly and sustainably. With parents working from home, spending more time around their noisy, unruly and undeniably appetitive children, it is hoped that this proposal may solve several problems at once. Following government and health service advice, it is imperative that we stay at home and avoid crowded supermarkets, so that we may protect both ourselves and others.
Image: US Navy