Australian millionaire Tim Gurner recently made a comment that suggested if Millennials want a chance at owning property, they should stop spending money on Instagram’s favourite avocado on toast. As unlikely as I find the idea that all my problems could be solved by simply skipping brunch occasionally, it did make me think: how can we be so willing to spend £20 on breakfast every week yet horrified at the ever-rising price of the humble Freddo?
I have come to the conclusion that our changing relationship with food comes with the evolving ways in which we view the world. Our love of extravagant brunch choices offers us an escape from the uncertainty of the future, whilst our frustration at Cadbury is our way of mourning the simplicity of the past and ‘the good old days.’
As a nation who truly believes any problem can be solved by ‘popping the kettle on,’ food and drink have always been catalysts for us to express our feelings and bring people together. Therefore, does there not seem an obvious correlation between the rise in the brunch culture and the political unrest we have been living in for the past few years? Never have I seen a better example of this than when visiting the beautiful city of Athens late last year. During a walking tour of the Greek capital, the guide couldn’t help but point out the full cafes and busy bars that appeared down every street of the historic city. Despite Greece facing its highest unemployment levels and biggest economist crisis to date, she said, people were still getting together over food and drinks in their favourite eateries. Food is a way for our generation to connect with each other whilst disconnecting from the instability of the world around us.
Moreover, our relationship with food extends further than our need to escape the reality of society, but can transport us to wherever we want to be in the world. As a whole, experience tends to hold greater value to our generation than material possessions, and food plays a huge role in this. A cohort obsessed with travel, we millennials are eating our way around the planet. Embracing food as an essential part of culture, our love of spice and flavours from around the world allow us to explore nations beyond our own and lifestyles unfamiliar to us. As modern-day explorers, we bring back riches from faraway lands in the way of restaurants and food trends that mimic the cuisines of other nations.
Without wanting to speak on behalf of my entire generation, I think it is fair to say that our priorities and expectations of life are different to those of our parents and grandparents. Living in an age where relationships can make or break at the swipe of an app, and career is king for both sexes, settling down in a three-bed semi in the suburbs isn’t as much of a benchmark of success as it once was. Like our dear old friend, Freddo, the good old days of affordable housing are long gone, but instead of losing sleep over this, why shouldn’t we be able to discuss this over a lengthy brunch or a nice glass of wine without feeling guilty?
So, in response to Tim Gurner; I may not own a house or even be close to such an achievement, however, along with many of my peers, I am in a long and committed relationship with food and the enriching experiences which surround it. As wonderful as it would be to have four walls I could call my own, if getting a mortgage means I am expected to sacrifice my personal love affair with food and all that it offers me, I think I’ll stick to the inflated rent prices… for now.