October 8, 2009

bad food

No, I'm not referring to something I've cooked recently (thought last night's quiche experiment came out of the oven a little too soon).

I'm referring to Cargill, mainly, after reading this piece in the NYT about a woman younger than me who was left paralyzed after eating a hamburger made from any number of indeterminable animals that came from Cargill. (Cargill's not the only company to blame; but it's an easy way to refer to the industrialization of our food industry on a global scale.)

This is precisely why the return to local ingredients is so very important. In an effort to eat more fruit, I began buying organic apples at the grocery store. Two purchases in, I finally looked at the food label: the crisp, sweet, juicy apples I enjoyed so much hailed from New Zealand.

I live in Texas.

There's no reason to ship that apple all the way across the world so that I can enjoy a healthy snack--especially when right now's the time for Texas pears.

And with all the E. coli scares, can't we learn that mass-processed meats (and leafy greens aren't far behind) have a negative effect on us as a society--besides the obesity part?

I never want to eat a "burger of unknown origins" (a BUO, if you will, or CUO--chicken--or any other MUO for that matter) again, and wish that more people would adopt that ideal, as far-fetched as it may seem. I'd say that I could make it 100% as a vegetarian, but have I mentioned before that there's this little place called Louie Mueller BBQ in my hometown that I just don't think I could live without?

It's not just because Food, Inc. started raising eyebrows, or because I, along with so many others, have read so much Michael Pollan literature, or because now it's "cool" to be a locavore (or elitist, nobody can seem to decide); it's because the facts are there. Infected foods from unsafe sources are making people seriously sick.

What more reason do you need to think twice about stopping at the drive through, or purchasing an inexpensive tube of meat at the grocery store?

Even in these tough economic times, when we're all feeling the pinch, cheap meat is not the answer. We should, as a society, invest not in Wall Street but in the sustaining of our life. Spend a few extra dollars on healthier foods, or shop at the farmers' markets--do anything that means you're relying less on industrialized, processed food and more on whole foods that come straight from the earth. Preferable from the farmer down the road.