Seventeen years ago I read this book in conjunction with a community consultation on the issues surrounding World Hunger and what we could/should be doing to make a difference:
I am still inspired by Frances Moore Lappe. She prompted me to refrain from eating meat as a humanitarian choice, not for health or animal rights reasons. I came away convinced that there were powerful forces at work in the economy of food that made for some disturbing consequences for those in less developed nations. Having grown up in a culture where over-consumption had already become the norm, I felt compelled to do what little I could to lessen the impact of our preference for meat at every meal.
I wasn’t terribly militant or evangelical about my choice. I would discuss it with anyone who was interested, but I didn’t feel compelled to convince anyone to follow my lead. Food is a critical tool of social cohesion and I was keen not to appear too inflexible or preachy. But disavowing meat was both an unlikely transition (here is the girl who had described herself as a meatatarian in her early teens as she only ate three vegetables) and dreadfully simple once I realised that I never really ate much ‘real meat’ and that veges were actually pretty tasty. Having said that, I can appreciate that to a real carnivore, removing meat from the plate leaves very little else of intense flavour…
So, I married a carnivorous atheist (me, the protestant vegetarian) and set about being accommodating and creative about feeding him in a meaty, nourishing and satisfying manner so that he would not feel too alienated by my choice to maintain my meat-eschewing ways.
Then he stumbled upon this book:
…and our lives may never be the same again. Whew! Because lately, living on a limited budget and being surrounded by people like Barbara Kingsolver and Michael Pollan who are all railing against the insidious and devastating effects of the industrialisation of food, especially in this country, has made me feel increasingly uneasy and wistful for a less meaty experience in the kitchen…
And when this began happening in our family:
…suddenly what I was putting in the shopping basket, where I was sourcing our food and what I was placing on our table became SO SO much more important.
So Akira has lead us lately on a journey of local discovery that I think will take us all summer long…and will hopefully spill into our new life beyond Missouri…To find local meat providers who do not use exploitative and harmful farming practises and provide more sustainable produce that will nourish us and keep us healthy. It means a dramatic alteration in our diet. As the person who plans the meals and sources the food, I have enjoyed the challenge of finding new sources and inspirations.
I am looking forward to the beginning of the Clayton and Tower Grove Farmer’s Markets in May.
I can’t wait to cook up some meat for Akira that makes him smile again – we are hoping that in April we will source it from the wonderful Greenwood Farms, and that might be ongoing through the summer from the markets.
Slow Food and the Fair Shares CCSA have been great places for ideas, and I was amazed (and happy) to find meat from this farm in our local supermarket – things are looking up!