I’m a little late to this train, but this week I read a great book by Michael Pollan, called “Omnivore’s Dilemma”, in which the author breaks down the American food system, following our dinner from the farm — or factory — to the table. A couple of health-crazed friends of mine had suggested it, said it changed the way they thought about food, where it comes from, that sort of thing.
This was certainly the case for me.
In Ithaca, my home for the past two years, people talk about food. A lot. Farms are plentiful in Ithaca’s surrounding communities, and you can be sure to snatch up something fresh from one of the many farmers’ markets each week. With my work at the local newspaper, I’m writing about foodies it seems every week, from local cooks, chefs, food growers, sellers, CSAs, a new organic farm, and on and on. But, admittedly, I was skeptical of the whole “pure foods” thing at first, not sure whether it was just another flavor of the week.
That changed about a year ago, when my lady and I attended a party where a few local growers had arrived, bringing with them a huge bowl of fresh field greens (Gotta love Ithaca and picnic fare. Hot dogs, potato salad and soda? Nope — tofu burgers, brussel sprouts with cashews and a Cascazilla).
So, plates in-hand, we dug in.
“What am I eating?” I asked Lindz, amazed.
“So this is what lettuce is supposed to taste like?” I asked.
It’s unfortunate that up to that point, my only taste of lettuce was from a head of Iceburg or a store-bought head of Romaine, both of which taste like paper.
That moment kinda planted the seed (puns!). I began to pay a little more attention to some of the crap that I ate on a regular basis, put in a little more effort to learn about various foods and their nutritional offerings, where the food came from. With that, we began to cook a whole lot more, incorporating in more and more fresh vegetables, most from our local farmers market in Trumansburg, right up the road.
“Omnivore’s Dilemma” has certainly provided some insight into my day-to-day eating habits and made a strong case for fresh foods. If you got 30 minutes to kill and you’re at a bookstore, just read the chapters on corn and then you’ll understand why cases of soda at your local grocery store cost less than water.