Archive for February, 2009

Farmers’ Market Anxiety; Or, Who Has Time to Compare 10 Types of Carrots?

Posted in MEAT POLITICS with tags , , on February 27, 2009 by chomposaurus

I work near Union Square in NYC. Three times per week, there’s a huge farmers’ market in Union Square featuring several dozen purveyors of fresh, delicious looking organic food. And every time I see it, coming or going from work, I think, “I have to start buying delicious fresh local food veggies there!” But this statement does not fill me with anticipation or desire. It fills me with a sense of guilty anxiety, like when you’re putting off telling your girlfriend that you may have given her fish diabetes while she was on a business trip (Baby I am so, so sorry but you’re going to have to learn to give Bubbles insulin injections).

The only thing better than one produce section is 20 identical ones next to each other, right?

The only thing better than one produce section is 20 identical ones next to each other, right?

But why does fresh, delicious food make me anxious? I finally figured it out: I don’t have time for this shit.

Groceries stores were invented for a reason: make shopping for food easier and cheaper. Like most great inventions, they had serious problems when first unveiled. And some of those problems still exist today: low-quality food, way too many imported fruits promoted above in-season varieties, and a focus on processed foodstuffs. But things are improving! We now have Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, and pretty much every major supermarket chain has organic sections. I know, labelling something organic has its own issues, and we have not perfected the system yet for figuring out what is truly naturally grown. But why must the local food movement insist that the *only* solution to this is to spend hours of my valuable time picking through piles of beets at 10 different stands, worried that I have no idea what distinguishes a good beet from a great beet, and then worried whether people judge you based on your beet-picking abilities. Let me say it again: I don’t have time for that shit. And sense farmer’s markets don’t offer you any cost savings because they are generally such small operations, why not pay someone else to do the picking for you, and to do it more efficiently?

Progress! It's ok, people.

Progress! It's ok, people.

The conclusion being, I’m going to shop at the grocery store. Yeah, you heard me right: I plan to purchase my food from a business that sells food. And when I follow Mike Nelson’s lead and start an all-bacon diet, I am not concerned that between the Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Food Emporium on my block, I can find some delicious, organic and well-priced meat without spending hours of my time sorting through the 8 premium meat dealer booths spread out over a cold, windy city square. The Whole Foods pictured above even has a green roof.

I think this rabbit is a powerful metaphor.

I think this rabbit is a powerful metaphor.

Progress, people. Don’t be afraid of admitting that you like the convenience of shopping in a store that carries all the food you need in one place. If you don’t like what your grocery store’s selling, don’t buy it. And tell them why – many times, they’ll actually listen. That’s how the free market works.

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Corn Dog Pizza; Or, Why You Will Soon Be Fatter

Posted in Hot Dogs, STUFF ABOUT MEAT with tags , on February 10, 2009 by chomposaurus

From the beautifully simple new blog, This is why you’re fat.

Thoreau and Flexitarians

Posted in MEAT POLITICS with tags , on February 9, 2009 by chomposaurus

Is eating meat more trouble than it’s worth? Henry Thoreau thought so, one of the many reasons he became a Vegetarian. Stefany Anne Golberg covers his conversion in an article for the Smart Set (h/t: The Daily Dish)

“The practical objection to animal food in my case was its uncleanness,” [Thoreau] wrote in Walden, “and besides, when I had caught and cleaned and cooked and eaten my fish, they seemed not to have fed me essentially. It was insignificant and unnecessary, and cost more than it came to. A little bread or a few potatoes would have done as well, with less trouble and filth.” You can stand around in the forest, waiting to spear, skin, and roast a bunny for your next meal, but…why?

These days, since we see so little of the effort that goes into producing meat, choosing to pay for others to exert that effort instead, it’s easy to lose track of this. But you are spending more of your resources of money and health each time you choose meat over equally nutritious fruits, vegetables and grain. That’s why I and others like me continue to argue for smarter meat eating, which means eating less meat, but that meat is of a higher quality. Kind of like the way a long-term relationship is more rewarding than random hookups to all but the most lustful of individuals. Give up quantity for quality (of meat and of life).

Mark Bittman’s new book, Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes, contains a bold argument for Flexitarianism. In this way of life, a majority of one’s meals are vegetarian. Bittman claims that the best way to achieve this is to eat no meat before dinner. Not a bad plan, if you can kick the habit of that ham sandwich at lunch.

Review: Bacon Pancakes

Posted in Pork, REVIEWS [Restaurants], STUFF ABOUT MEAT with tags , , on February 6, 2009 by chomposaurus

While visiting DC for the inauguration, I had the good fortune to stumble into Marx Cafe in Mt. Pleasant for brunch. Our motley crew of hungry, hungover men soon spotted bacon pancakes on the menu and decided we had to try some. We ordered a stack for the table and dug in.

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I was expecting little bits of bacon to be mixed into the batter. Little did I know they would meld whole strips of bacon into the flapjack, as though they were pouring the batter on top of them. While I admire the culinary swagger it takes to place an intact piece of bacon inside a pancake, I must say it probably lessened the overall effectiveness of the flavor combination. It simply tasted like you had stabbed a piece of bacon on your fork, then stabbed some pancake, then rubbed it all in syrup. Delicious? Yes. But hardly original. You can do the same at Denny’s by ordering bacon with your grand slam.

So I may have to make my own bacon pancakes to get the unique, meaty-batter experience I was looking for. And trust me, you’ll be the first to know about it.