Filed under: environmental issues, Food for Thought | Tags: Eat your view, Michael Pollan, slow food, The Omnivore's Dilemna
SF is a foodie town. Before moving here, I didn’t know much about wine or the pleasures of cooking and pairing different courses together to create the perfect combination. The closest I’d come to this culture was really my time in France. In Europe, in general, people seemed to focus much more time and thought on what they were going to eat, how they would prepare it, and who they would share it with. They take their time with meals and enjoy the great conversation it generates. It’s been a pleasure to discover the same sentiment here in San Francisco. You’ll find very few fast food joints in the city and chain restaurants are practically nonexistent. Farmers markets are plentiful and most menus at restaurants change with the seasons.
This local culture really got me thinking a lot more about where my food comes from and what I put into my body. As a result, I picked up “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”, by Michale Pollan. I highly recommend it. He evaluates 4 different meals and tracks their entire life from the farm to the plate. The 4 meals include: an industrial/fast food meal, the whole foods version of an organic meal, a locally produced/ farmers market meal/ and finally a meal that’s been hunted, gathered, and foraged for directly by the person eating it.
The story behind each meal fascinated me and really made me take another look at what I eat. Just like buying recycled products to support the green movement, you can make a statement with what you eat as well. “Eat your view” is a new bumper sticker seen often in Europe now and I think its something that Americans should start considering a bit more. I’m not implying that everyone become a vegetarian and only eat from the farmer’s market. That’s very unrealistic, but just think about things a bit more before you buy them. Look at what’s in season, how local it is, how many chemical products did they add to it? Is it healthy? How do they treat the workers, animals, and farmland on their farms?
Pollan says in his book that this change in the market will “require a new kind of eater. One who regards finding, preparing, and preserving food as one of the pleasures of life rather than a chore.” One whose sense of taste has ruined him for a Big Mac, and whose sense of place has ruined him for shopping for groceries at Wal-Mart. ”
It’s the same mission as the Slow Food Movement started back in 1989 in Italy. The intent is “to remind a generation of industrial eaters of their connections to farmers and farms, and to the plants and animals we depend on.” The movement focuses on “fighting industrial eating by recalling people to the infinitely superior pleasures of traditional foods enjoyed communally.” The founder Carlo Petrini says, “The consumer becomes a coproducer- his eating contributes to the survival of landscapes and species and traditional foods that would otherwise succumb to the fast-food ideal of “one world, one taste.”
They insist that doing the right thing is actually the most pleasurable thing as well. Just some food for thought…
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