The coronavirus has given me a break from university work, and I have enjoyed having some time to sort out my head in the midst of all this COVID chaos. The only problem is, I now have to get two essays done before the 18th. And one of the essays is proving…strange, to say the least.
The question I have chosen to answer is something along the lines of “Has China abandoned its dietary and medicinal traditions?” And initially, I thought f*** no. I’ve lived in China. Their bread is too sweet, it took me six months to find actual milk (not the sweetened milkshake-like nonsense), and the hospitals still rely heavily on traditional Chinese medicine. I felt passionate enough in my answer that I thought I could manage this essay.
And then I started the reading.
Good God, is it repetitive. I have read three papers on the recommended list, and they can all be summed up as follows:
- The Chinese are eating more dairy despite most of the population being lactose intolerant.
- There’s a major discrepancy between rural and urban areas.
- There’s a weird cult-like mentality towards milk. Apparently milk=strength. And with more Chinese drinking milk, and less Americans drinking it, China will inevitably overcome the Western oppressors and become the world’s leading superpower!
- Thanks to all this milk drinking, and people working in offices all the time, a lot of Chinese are now overweight or obese.
Now, I still have further reading to do, but if this is what my professor is after, I am at a loss for words. How do I “milk” this topic of milk in China? How do I drag out “excessive dairy intake and a sedentary lifestyle results in obesity” into a 2500 word essay? Shall I go full-on conspiracy theorist and talk about milk being the key to world domination? Or shall I make a dig at the fact that, traditionally, milk and dairy were considered the foods of barbarians?
I haven’t decided yet. But this making me want to cry at the absurdity of the topic.