Food safety in the kitchen

My family is in the process of reclaiming our kitchen. It had been colonized by the industrial food system. Three years ago my idea of dinner was microwaving frozen tray. I might broil a steak to eat with a salad, or pick up a chicken from the grocery store roasting tray, but that was as ambitious as I got. Then I read Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma and watched Food, Inc., and got my education about what has happened to food in this country. The most alarming thing is that factories that are turning out unsafe food are not being closed down. Remember the salmonella outbreak in eggs that sickened 1500 people this summer? The outfit that sold those eggs has been knowingly turning out contaminated eggs for years, and owner Jack de Costa got nothing more than a warning letter from the FDA. Seriously. So how can I know … Continue reading

Food, Inc.

Last year the local co-op group (still founding, no co-op yet) passed out postcards at county farmer’s markets for months. The postcard let us know about a special showing of Food, Inc. at the Port Orchard theater. Part of our ticket price would end up back with the co-op. On the day we went, a sunny weekend, we were nearly the only people in the theater. Things I’d been reading about jumped off the screen. There was Joel Palatin of Polyface Farms, the poster boy for diversified small farming. There were interviews with famous writers. There were shots of the poor cows in CAFOs. By the time I saw the movie I was pretty well educated, and I don’t know that I learned anything from it that I hadn’t heard, but the screen put faces and voices to the issues. There’s one moment I flash on whenver I enter a … Continue reading

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