This weekend, I’m actually leaving the city and heading south on the train. I’ve packed some reading for the trip. Sometimes I feel like a small child whose mother needs to make sure that s/he has enough toys to keep him/her occupied, snacks, and other goodies (in this case Pandora) so that there’s smooth sailing all the way to the destination.
After having finished Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, I’m now on The Omnivore’s Dilemma. I know that this is the reverse of the order in which they were written, but I sort of think that they make more sense going in this direction. Of course, the former book is also shorter, which is what really what made me tackle it first. After reading it, I went through my cupboards to see if anything that I had in it fit the guidelines that Mr. Pollan had laid down. All in all, I did pretty well.
Truthfully, I’d really have to go back to my great-grandmothers’ generation to meet his criteria. From some of the recipes that we do have from my grandmothers, I know that they had already embraced using processed food products in some of the dishes that they made. In my cupboard, I probably have quite a few things that they didn’t eat, as they were from the Midwest. My pasta stash, the bags of cornmeal for polenta, the various lentils, olive oil, and many of the other spices and seasonings that I use are not likely the same items that they had in their pantries.
I know that I don’t collect my own eggs, bake my own bread, or kill my own animals for meat, which they did even in that generation. At the same time, I’m further away from my parents in terms of how few pre-packaged foods I do eat. This isn’t to be critical of them, as that’s how I ate growing up as well. I’m curious to see where The Omnivore’s Dilemma takes this discussion of factory farming and how our mass food production works. Having kept track of many of the food issues we face for quite a while, and after seeing Food, Inc., I’m not sure that there will be too many things that he’ll discuss of which I’ll be completely unaware.