Industrial food contamination

In the news today: salmonella on eggs distributed all over the country, including Washington state, is making hundreds of people sick. After I read Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma I changed my shopping habits to seek out organic vegetables, fruits, and dry goods, meats grown without hormones or antibiotics, and dairy from cows not treated with RBGH. I was aware that I was still being fed by the industrial food system, although now at least I was in the organic branch. Still, I became increasingly mistrustful of that system just by paying attention to the news. The American woman’s diet called for a steak and salad for dinner. So now I was eating organic salad and “natural” meat, but how much healthier was that food, really? In 2006 I was buying bagged lettuce from the grocery store for my salads. That year there was an e coli outbreak connected to … Continue reading

First apple butter of the season

Today the scent of apples filled the house. I figured I’d better process them before they spoiled. At the Poulsbo Farmer’s Market last Saturday a boy was selling transparents, and I bought his whole lot. He said he likes them as applesauce. A farmer told me homesteaders loved these apples because they’re the first in the season. They’re a fairly small yellow apple, very sweet. I took the apples outside to the pavilion, used to eat summer dinners, entertain guests, and as a summer kitchen. I peeled the apples and dropped them into a bowl of water with some lemon squeezed in. Then I cut them up into fairly small bits. I had a pound of apple chunks when I was done. I put those in a pot and added half a cup of sugar, half a teaspoon of cinnamon and a quarter teaspoon of cloves. Brought this to a … Continue reading

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