Monday, January 28, 2008

Home Again, Home Again...

...and eating our normal diets--but tastier!

Yesterday we went to the local farmer's market and picked up an absolutely incredibly assortment of local mushrooms from the vendor we call "the mushroom lady." We sauteed them in local butter with salt, pepper, and dried tarragon. Yummy.

We served the sauteed mushrooms on top of non-local brown basmati rice cooked with non-local chickpeas as well as onions bought at the farmer's market. On the side? Very old broccoli that was well past its peak. (At least it was still moderately green.)



So a lot of this meal was not local, I guess. But the ingredients which were not local were items that travel well without refrigeration and can be shipped in bulk: rice and beans. If we are going to eat foods from elsewhere, eating things that do not require airplanes and refrigerators is certainly more sustainable.

I love cooking easy vegan meals. (Yep--this one is not vegan because I used butter--but if you want to make it vegan, just use olive oil....) Although we do eat meat, dairy and eggs, I'm drawn very much to the vegan ethic--not due to animal rights as much as to the arguments of Frances Moore Lappe (Diet for a Small Planet) who explores the impact on the world's poor of raising grain to feed animals rather than people.

Come to think of it, that is precisely the reason I am committed to buying more sustainable grass-fed meat from local farms. Although a diet high in meat products (even responsibly-produced meat) is not truly sustainable, raising animals on a diversified farm can contribute to the productivity of the land. (Cough cough, *manure*, cough cough, rather than synthetic fertilizers.)

Feeding grain to animals that do not naturally eat grain is bad for animals, bad for humans, and bad for the planet. On the other hand, raising cows on land that cannot grow grain or vegetables easily is an active plus. I still have a lot more learning to do about this issue. Any sources to recommend?

Thinking about what Lappe says about the wasteful system of raising corn to feed to cows rather than people makes me wonder what she would say about raising corn to feed cars rather than humans. (I keep waiting for the bumper sticker that says "No Food for Fuel." I'll put it right under the "No Blood for Oil" sticker I have hypothetically stuck to my forehead....)

That was quite a digression from the recounting of our menu, wasn't it?

For dessert: grapefruit we picked up at a grove stand in Indian River on our drive north from South Florida.



Makes up for the dead broccoli....

6 comments:

cici said...

Welcome back,,,, Missed you not being at A Tangled Skein last Friday Night Anniversay... glad you are getting back to normal eating.

Crazy Cat Lady said...

Love your thoughts on food! I have heard that Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma is an excellent treatise on food systems in the U.S., though I have not read it!

Looking forward to more!

TheAmpuT said...

You might want to read some John Robbins books. Amazing commentary about the food and economics and saving the planet.

Be forewarned though, it is his information that has made me quite vegetarian.

Lara said...

Peter Singer's "The Ethics of What We Eat" is also a good read for a comprehensive examination of the subject - he looks at three families, and examines the impact of their dietary choices, from the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.), to "ethical omnivores", to Vegan.

I'd be interested to hear your comments on it :)

Lara said...

PS. I think it might have been published under a different title in the US (I'm in Australia), and it was co-written with someone else.

Here is the Amazon link for the US edition :)

http://www.amazon.com/Way-We-Eat-Choices-Matter/dp/B000RL9OCC/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1201735668&sr=8-1

The Purloined Letter said...

Thanks, everybody, for your suggestions! In addition to Lappe, Robbins convinced my partner David and me to be vegetarians for years. Pollan convinced us to consider eating local meat. David has read Singer--but I had sort of forgotten it was in my queue. Thanks for reminding me!

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