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It’s Simple: Stop F#*king With Our Food!

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I have seen a lot of different news regarding our food system in the past week. Whether it’s a push to go vegan, or a push to use science to solve the world hunger problems – it seems like the more we worry about our health, food supply, and ethical issues, the more we move from a natural state with our foods.

I wrote about how science was killing us in my last Fight Back Friday episode, and I stand by the convictions my Grandfather laid down. In it’s very essence, our philosophy is simple and obvious: Stop F#*king With Our Food.

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A question that is often asked of Chefs is, “What is your favorite dish? If you knew you would die tomorrow, what would you eat today?”

The question is easy for me. Give me a whole, roasted chicken with rosemary and lemon, with potatoes roasted underneath until they are golden brown. Crispy on the outside, soft and buttery on the inside. On the side, you can roast off some fresh carrots and then glaze them with maple syrup, and finish them with a bit of sea salt. If you are generous, perhaps a nice lemon meringue pie with authentic lemon curd will hit the spot for dessert.

What does this have to do with anything? Well – you may have noticed I didn’t say that I would love to have something like foie gras and toasted brioche points with chokecherry gelée – served just before a course of potato blinis smothered in Beluga caviar. Then on to my main course of a gold medal plate from a culinary competition – of something I can’t even identify – much less want to eat.

What makes my last meal choice so elegant is it’s simplicity. There are no saturated fat-free scientific “fats”, no tofuturkey, no petri-dish meats, GMO grains, imitation flavors, preservatives, processed items, or other real awesome stuff that science has given us in the last 50 years.

It’s simplicity at it’s best – yet difficult to find or justify eating in todays world. Somewhere along the way, we have all forgotten that it’s best to leave things at their simplest. We continue F#*king With Our Food, and are paying the price

Don’t F#*k With Your Food – 3 Examples Of Where We Are Going Wrong

Petri Dish Meat – Let’s get started with this one. At the surface, it is a noble quest. Feed the world through the minimal of animal suffering. Current livestock methods are not sustainable. (Agreed!) Grow meat in a petri dish, so we can play with all sorts of variables in the composition and the make-up of meat. That way, we can adjust taste, flavor, fat content, (with lab grown fat – no less!) and vitamin content. See, this promises to be a more sustainable way to grow meat. There won’t be all that land used for livestock – that’s for sure. We’ll just have to deal with the biohazard waste instead. Why can’t we just revert back to the old farming ways? Major fail.

PETA – Vegetarianism – Let’s end the suffering of animals. Well, I mean, only the ones that we see, right? You see, it takes 100 times as much grain to feed 1 animal than a human, right? Wait… aren’t we speaking about GMO grain here? Roundup ready grain? Oh. How about pesticide use? What about all those mice in the field, the millions of insects that have to die in order for GMO Roundup-Ready Soy to be grown? No, Vegans are not off the hook here – you just can’t see the wanton destruction, that is all. Ever been to a field that has been sprayed with herbicides and pesticides? Most of us haven’t. Finally, animals shouldn’t have to pay a price, right? What about humans? In a vegan-centered world, who is going to be in the fields picking the produce? Take tomatoes, for example. Sure, eat more of them so animals don’t die, but what about migrant workers? What about their suffering?

School Lunch Guidelines” – Here is the most scary example of us F#*king With Our Food. Since government has a guideline on how we all should be eating, they also have a say about what goes into a school child’s lunch. Be it at a cafeteria, or even in your own child’s lunch box. Worse, it has been demonstrated that the people in charge can even veto what you put in your child’s lunch box and serve them what is considered a base “standard” of nutrition. If this isn’t messing with our rights, I don’t know what is. Remember back to a time when government wouldn’t dare do something like this? It wasn’t that long ago. Unfortunately, in the language of most nutritionists and other “licensed” people – we just aren’t equipped to make those tough decisions anymore. Bring on the NUGGETS!

Conclusion:

That’s the tip of the iceberg in what’s going on in food this week that is driving me nuts. In all cases, the answer is stupidly simple. Stop F#*king With Our Food. A petri dish is NOT the answer to world hunger – proper animal husbandry, and farming practices are. I agree that the current CAFO system is not sustainable. Livestock was never meant to be raised that way.

Veganism, while a valiant effort, is not the answer either. Sure, I agree that we need to eat less meat and protein as a whole, and incorporate more vegetables and fruit in our diets. The problem with veganism is it’s just too extreme for an answer to the world’s carrying capacity problems. A vegan can promise me until they are blue in the face that the world agriculture problem will be solved by veganism, until they actually have to get into specifics in how their produce is going to be cultivated. Then the argument falls apart. I have yet to see a sustainable plan from PETA or anyone else that gives a concrete plan aside from the misdirection of how much vegetable protein it takes to produce meat.

Finally, tradition should dictate what we eat. To me, it’s a no-brainer. Poindexter had his chance in the last 50 or 60 years. Unfortunately, he can’t seem to make up his mind on what is good/bad/okay. Guidelines change all the time, almost too quickly for people to catch up. Well intentioned authorities are making decisions that can affect the lives of our children down the road based on guidelines that are alleged to be bought and paid for by the very companies who have members on advisory committees. (An obvious conflict of interest.) 100 years ago, this would be simple – my great-grandparents would have just sighed, and went on following tradition.

Your Turn!

What foods do you dream about? What would you eat, knowing it was your last day on Earth? Let me know in the comments!

 

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  • Mike

    I don’t have the numbers at my fingertips, but I believe that U.S. citizens use less of their income for food than we have in decades. It’s an uncomfortable truth that we will have to get used to paying more for food in the future. If we want quality and sustainability, we need to be willing to sacrifice a few more dollars for it. In the end, we may come out ahead because our health care will cost less. But that’s not a convenient political point, so it doesn’t get discussed at the national level like it should.

    I like Friday rants, no matter if it’s the blog host or the visitors doing it. : )

  • http://www.knitandnosh.typepad.com terri

    I agree all the way down to my toes.

    My last meal, spring vegetable risotto.

  • http://welldonechef.com Jason Sandeman

    @Mike – I think that the more we will spend on food, the less we will eat. It’s like a paradox – we spend less on the processed food, because it’s heavily subsidized – but it’s also nutritiously deficient. In the end, spend the same amount of money on a bag of chips verses an organic tomato(es), and you will be hard pressed to tell me that after eating a tomato that you would be going back for more. Not so with the bag of chips. Betcha can’t stop!

  • http://welldonechef.com Jason Sandeman

    @terri – Spring vegetable risotto! I like it!

  • http://gastronomicalsovereignty.blogspot.com Kristy Lynn @ Gastronomical Sovereignty

    i appreciate the veganist point you make here. Affronted with the atrocities of the animal-food industry, i became a strict vegetarina. But as time went on, i realized that being a veggie did not make me an ethical eater – which is now how i classify myself, meat & all. I think people assume that because they’re avoiding meat products that the veggies/fruits they’re eating are okay. But the social, ecological, economical and ultimately political practices of veggie-friendly diets need to be deconstructed, examined, and redefined as well. Well done!

    Last meal: how can you ask me to make such a decision?? ;)

  • http://welldonechef.com Jason Sandeman

    @Kristy Lynn – Thank you for your comment. I know it’s hard to make a decision for the last meal. Then again, isn’t it weird that I would chose something so basic, given my knowledge of food. Sometimes the basics are the best – especially when they are perfectly executed.

  • http://www.dragoncookies.com/ Oz du Soleil

    I would have one of my own Peanubutter Dragon Cookies and a tall glass of milk.

  • http://www.dragoncookies.com/ Oz du Soleil

    Jason, the simplicity of your last meal actually makes sense.
    I play bass and find that many musicians spend a lot of time learning complex chords, theory and song arrangements. But what do they listen to in their cars or during leisure moments? Simple songs that just feel good.

    Also. It’s nice to talk with someone who uses big words and talks big concepts but they’re the LAST person we’d want to have our final conversation with. We’d probably want to talk with someone who just talks and doesn’t cause us to work so hard to appreciate.

  • http://welldonechef.com Jason Sandeman

    @Oz du Soleil – Well, as a drummer, I see that we would get along fine. To use the music anology – when I was in my metal days, I used to think it was all about the 200 BPM bass drum notes, the tom work, the fast kick… etc.
    As I grew older, I began to appreciate music as a whole. I understand jazz, funk, and even the alternative scene more now. I understand why Steven Adler was the driving force for GNR for example, and why the band was never the same without him.
    In the end, it is the perfect execution of the simple things that is divine.
    When it comes to cooking, I have a saying – “Any asshole can cook a tenderloin with foie gras, shave truffles over it, serve it up with a pinot noir sauce and roasted baby vegetables.
    Give me a cook that can make a roasted chicken perfectly, or a roasted red pepper bisque divine… then I will show you a good cook.”