Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bubba Gump

I'm currently reading WHAT TO EAT by Marion Nestle. She's basically the leading nutritionist in America, and this book is her opus--a guide to what to put in your belly. The Seafood chapter has been one of the most shocking chapters for me. I don't eat fish or seafood--never liked the taste. I always felt like I was missing out, since most of my friends and family enjoy it, and because it seems to have a lot of health benefits with the whole omega-3 thing and all that jazz. But what I didn't fully realize is how contaminated (with methylmercury, etc) and environmentally unsound (farming fish and seafood really pollutes the water) fish can be. Yes, there are some very healthy options, but most of the foods people really like, such as tuna, salmon, and shrimp, are some of the worst offenders. It's definitely made me glad that I get my omega 3s from veggies and flax.

But I am glad to see that some retailers are cleaning up their act. There's a piece in today's NYT about Wegman's insisting on environmental and safety standards for their shrimp. Hopefully they're the first of many...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Great Meal Ticket Compromise

Sorry I've been asleep at the wheel. Apparently moving to Brooklyn is a more labor intensive process than I thought, but I'm trying to get back into the swing of things on the blog.

My buddy Matt is an editor over at Metromix New York. He recently recruited me to write a piece for their restaurant section, which you can read here. The concept was to find a bunch of restaurants in New York that you can take your parents to that won't alienate them with weird dishes and won't bore you with plain grub. Check it.

Monday, October 1, 2007

I'm a Fool to Do Your Dirty Work...

Apropos many of the issues discussed on this blog recently, Barbara Kingsolver wrote a piece in this Sunday's Washington Post about the myth that industrial farming somehow frees humans from having to produce their food with their own hands. One particularly interesting observation is that while there may be fewer people who literally work with the soil to produce food, 50-60% of a population still has to be directly involved in food production and consumption in some way (waiters, long-haul truckers, food marketers/advertisers, etc.). Much like the false belief that something like a dishwasher would free up housewives' time in favor of leisure activities (in reality new chores just seemed to spontaneously appear to fill in the time void), the idea that we're somehow free to pursue new avenues thanks to our independence from farm work is a myth. Sure there may not be as many people working in the fields, but instead they're working in restaurants or food processing plants or the Xerox center at General Mill's--not necessarily the most gratifying work. And at the same time, these modern farming methods are of course damaging the soil, introducing genetically modified crops, breeding dependence on antibiotics and pesticides, and narrowing the variety of produce available. It's hard to make a case that somehow this is a more sensible way to feed the world.