Michael Pollan changed my life

A couple of years ago I was at a business lunch and noticed one of the guys I work with was eating a salad, just like I was. I asked him why, and he said he’d reformed his diet after reading Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. So the next time I was in an airport without a book I picked up a copy. An airplane ride later the way I look at food had changed permanently. Pollan traced the food chains which delivered to him a McDonald’s hamburger, grass-fed chicken, and a meal he foraged for himself. He had written other books, but it was Omnivore’s Dilemma that everyone seemed to be reading at once, that introduced many people in my orbit to the conditions of the animal farms called CAFOs, and terms like industrial organic and supermarket pastoral. He made clear the consequences of a food system based … Continue reading

Twinkie, Deconstructed

I have spent much of my adult working life being too busy to cook. My family ate a lot of frozen dinners and restaurant food. But it seems that while I my attention was elsewhere, something awful happened to food in the industrial world. My first inkling that what I was eating might not actually be food was an orange-covered book with a snappy title that leapt into my hand in the bookstore. In Twinkie, Deconstructed, Steve Ettinger documented his quest to figure out what his children were actually eating. He read the fine print on his Twinkie wrapper and tracked down the sources of those ingredients. The subtitle of his book tells the tale: My Journey to Discover How the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods Are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined), and Manipulated into What America Eats. Ettinger traveled to the mines and factories where the ingredients in many products … Continue reading

A Culinary Adventure

You might have heard of the 100 mile diet. The idea is that you cook only with ingredients that came from a 100 mile circle around your house. Now, I live in Washington State, an agricultural state, and a hundred miles from my house I can find wheat fields, dairies, orchards, fisheries, even cranberry bogs, so it’s easy for me to put together a meal plan that stays in-state. More specifically, I live in unicorporated Kitsap County between Bremerton and Silverdale. Many of the communities in my county began as farming and fishing towns, and there are still many farms, heritage farms and newly established spreads. Whenever possible I cook and eat food grown and prepared just in my county. Why would I do that? Lots of reasons: to serve myself, my family, and my friends with the healthiest possible food; to support local and sustainable agriculture; to limit my … Continue reading