…Bill Buford’s New Yorker article about the Food Network started me wondering about things you don’t see on the Food Network any more other than chefs and dirt, like foie gras. How can a channel about food not show Foie Gras? I have to assume it stems from some ridiculous “don’t upset anyone, anywhere” approach to marketing. Add this to the list of reasons I no longer watch the Food Network. Does anyone else miss Discovery’s “Great Chefs” and Emeril before the audience???
…I just assume everyone that comes to Augieland clicks on that link to the Bruni Digest while visiting. If not, do so today. She is a very funny woman…
…Ok, clearly the whole world has gone insane. Mark it on your calendar: we are officially doomed as a race as of 9/27/06 and the exact thing to mark this event is this article by Marion Burros in the Times entitled “Tainted Spinach Brings Demands for New Rules.”
At this point we are all aware that somehow in the last month or so spinach caught a cold named E. coli O157:H7 and started giving it to humans. This particular strain is dangerous to humans and our best guess at the moment is that it got to the spinach through run-off water from factory cattle farms near the spinach fields.
Now here is where the insanity starts. You ready for this??? Brace yourself… the proposed issue and solution, from a microbiologist at UC Davis named Dr. Trevor Suslow is, get this, “Should cows be raised in close proximity to produce? Ideally, you would like to see them well separated.” And the FDA has this to offer, “I’m speculating, but there is a logical link between cattle and manure getting into the water.” Can you smack a whole government department for being stupid?
So rather than stop creating the poison by ending the practice of feeding cows poison (yes corn is poisonous to cows) even though E. coli and all the other poisons current cattle farming practices create obviously will find ways into our lives no matter where we put the feedlots (it is spread through the water table), we will separate spinach and cows as if it were insane to assume animals and vegetables could coexist and that we have just been dodging a bullet for the thousands of years we have luckily gotten away with these crazy death-traps called farms.
Here is the solution I offer free of charge: STOP POISONING YOUR FOOD. How? The simple fact that the idea being put forth as problematic is that farm animals and farm vegetables need be separated makes it pretty clear the corn subsidies that are actually the root of this poisoning will not be ended. So what’s left? Avoid buying standard beef in the supermarket, restaurants or fast-food chains as much as possible. No kidding. Make steak a special thing, pay a little more for grass-fed beef raised on pasture, and enjoy it, it actually tastes far better. Tell your restaurants why you are eating less, they will get you what you want.
The ultimate irony is that if we fed all the tainted spinach we are throwing out to the cows rather than what we are currently feeding them the E. coli issue would probably clear up…
…So in the middle of an E. coli issue clearly tied to spinach four kids who regularly drink raw milk get E. coli and the milk is blamed and a recall enacted. Well the milk has been tested and proven not to have E. coli. Yet the recall stands. We all know where I stand on raw milk, and it is hard to talk about this without sounding like a strange paranoid conspiracy theorist. But here is an example of the result of years of demonization of raw milk by an industry that only stays hugely profitable if pasteurization stays the status quo. During a spinach-related E. coli outbreak in the part of the world the spinach is from, raw milk is the first assumed infector…
…I saw a post on The Gurgling Cod I felt inspired to comment on about snapping pictures in restaurants, which in turn led me to this article by Molly O’Neill in The Columbia Journalism Review, which I very much enjoyed because of writing like this:
From the beginning of newspaper food coverage, the pages have been home to dietary fads and weight-loss schemes. Horace Greeley was himself an acolyte of Sylvester Graham, whose vegetarian moralism makes that of say, Dr. Dean Ornish, appear to be downright sybaritic. But it may be nothing more than the mists of time that differentiate the dietary faddism of that era from the fads promulgated by food writers today. After being diagnosed with hypertension and counseled to reduce his salt intake, for instance, Claiborne wrote a guide to cooking without salt called Craig Claiborne's Gourmet Diet in 1980. Based on the medical establishment's assumption that foreswearing salt could stave off hypertension, Claiborne echoed the American Heart Association's position and rallied the public to join his low-salt life-style. Thus was a low-salt food industry born before further research revealed that although cutting salt consumption is critical for people who have high blood pressure, reducing it prior to the onset of high blood pressure generally does little to lower the chance of developing the disease.
...What good is lamenting the scourge of factory farms and sick cows without offering a viable and accessible alternative?
Wife and I have been heartily enjoying our weekly CSA vegetables from Stoneledge Farms and, saddened that our summers’ share will soon be drawing to a close, were delighted to learn that the Washington Square CSA will be offering a winter share this year consisting of winter vegetables, organic chicken, grass-fed beef, organic eggs and dairy products and assorted dry goods (beans, granola and the like) from local farms. Unlike our summer share, this will be a once-monthly pick-up and runs from December through April. We are looking forward to seeing what the winter brings…