December 23, 2007

The Ethicurean: chew the right thing

Ethicurean pig drawn by Ad McCauley

The Ethicurean is is a favorite site of mine, and if you care a whole lot about food and the environment, it's probably one of your favorites, too. If you've never heard of them -- dig in.

You can spend ages cruising the links: Meatpaper! Smart, brave John Edwards! Pork-barrel Hillary Clinton! Another [very scary] reason factory farming is bad for all involved! And the Ethicurean is always good for comments like this:
Karma can be a real bitch: Contained within yet another story on how food prices are rising and everyone’s playing the blame game, is a jaw-dropping quote from Jay Truitt, spokesman for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in which he bemoans the ethanol boom that’s taking cheap corn and soy out of the mouths of countless feedlot cows: “You can’t get anyone to consider that there is a consequence to these actions … We think there will be a day when people ask, ‘Why in the world did we do this?’” You mean, why in the world did we confine ruminants in manure-filled prisons and feed them grains their stomachs can’t digest without making them sick, Jay? Do tell. (New York Times)
There are great little essays like Living Small in Montana [excerpts]:
If local is the new organic, then most of my friends here are very trendy. As with most little towns in the scenic intermountain west, we have our issues between the newbies and the locals, but game cuts across all the class boundaries — we all eat local wild meat. Whatever you might feel about hunting, you have to admit that you can’t get much more local than going out on a cold fall morning before sunrise, then shooting, field dressing, and packing out an animal that is destined for your freezer. An animal you intend to eat for the next year.
But just as folks who join CSAs learn to cook vegetables they’d never seen before like kohlrabi and chard and turnips, it only takes a year or two in Montana before you learn to be sanguine in the face of a thawed-out chunk of bloody game animal. Like all local product, it takes on a significance. You need to learn to cook it well because one of your friends got up on a cold cold morning and went out, shot this animal, then hauled it back to the truck on his own back (or in the case of Shannon, on her own back).
Christopher Cook writes in another link about the Food Bill and "the fate of America's food supply: what's grown, how it's produced and by whom, and how that food will affect our health and the planet."
What's to be done? Congress (particularly the Senate, where debate currently resides) needs to hear Americans -- urban and rural alike -- demand serious change, to shift our tax dollars ($20 billion to $25 billion a year in farm subsidies alone) toward organic, locally oriented, nutritious food that sustains farming communities and consumer health.

Investing our tax dollars in food isn't the problem; instead of commodity subsidies that ultimately benefit the production of meat and fattening processed foods by a handful of corporations, we need a New Deal for food that reinvests funds in sustainably grown, healthful produce grown by a diversity of farmers.
Chew the right thing: check out the Ethicurean.

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