Food For Thought

I like food.  As a general rule (and I am a rule follower) the worse it is for me the better I like it.  But being the enigma I am, there are also fleeting attempts at being healthy.  Clearly some sort of foodie Jekyll and Hyde thing going on.  A few years ago in brief burst of health I read The Omnivores Dilemma and immediately resolved to eat nothing but food that was locally sourced, grass-fed, watered with unicorn tears, and lovingly harvested by nubile young virgins.  That lasted only a few weeks.  It’s just so damn easy to go to the mega-mart instead.  It wasn’t a complete waste however – I did buy a cow and will do so again once I finish the approximately 276 pounds of hamburger in my freezer.

Anyway, last night after catching up on the Kardashian channel  (E! News) I stumbled across Michael Pollan’s movie “Food Inc.”.  It wasn’t bad.  A little disturbing and very sensationalist.  Like his books it does make you think about your food and that’s a good thing.  It would be a wonderful thing if we could all afford to buy from farmers markets and not be slaves to the evil corporate machine.  Evil-doers I tell you!

Unfortunately it’s not reality.  The US population is 317 million.  The world population is 7.1 billion.  By 2050 those numbers are projected to be 400 million and 8.92 billion.  We do not have the capacity to feed those numbers with sustainable chickens running free through the woods and listening to Miley Cyrus on their little iChicken headphones prior to slaughter.  Here in the US, we have already exceeded the soil’s capacity to grow.  If it wasn’t for the miracle of modern nitrogen-based fertilizers we’d be living in some sort of futuristic Mad Max dust bowl already. 

So enough of the self-righteous condemnation of the modern food industry.  If, as Warren Buffet said, you’re one of the winners of the ovarian lottery be thankful. Drive the 20 miles to Whole Foods in your eco-friendly Prius and be grateful you can pay $6.99 for Chilean Blueberries while sipping a $7 mocha-latte made from beans sourced from Brazil.

GMO’s, drought and pesticide resistant seeds, massive corporate food production slaughterhouses and assembly lines, cheap immigrant labor… these really are good things.  Why?  The alternative is third-world food scarcity everywhere.  If you have a true, viable, alternative to feed the planet I’m all ears.  Meanwhile I’m going to go get me some .99¢ deep-fried chicken tenders, feel bad about myself and resolve to eat more salads.

We bought a cow

The Walmart was having a killer black Friday sale, so we went ahead and bought a cow.  Ok, not a cow but a steer.  Ok, it wasn’t Walmart but a local rancher.  Had to go take a look at him today since he’ll be in our freezer by next week.  It’s important to know where your food comes from.  That steak doesn’t just magically appear at the grocery store!

On Walking Goats

On the trails the other day I passed a couple walking a goat and a llama on leashes. Neither farm animal seemed particularly pleased to be on a leash or out for a stroll. The llama looked fairly petrified, especially as I went by on bike. The goat wasn’t exactly being walked. It looked a little more like it was being drug up the hill. The couple on the other hand were perfectly happy with their crunchy-granola, Santa Cruz vibe. I’m sure they were convinced that walking farm animals like domesticated pets made perfect sense. I could only think WTF? It’s funny the things we do that make perfect sense to us but must look nuts to the rest of the world.

  • I like to run (pavement, dirt, trails, doesn’t matter) in Vibram Five Fingers.
  • I don’t mind getting up early and driving 4+ hours to hike/ski and then drive home. At the same time I don’t like getting up early to do something that’s only a 10 minute drive away.
  • If it takes longer than a couple of minutes to prepare lunch I’d rather just eat fast food… yet I don’t think twice about spending hours prepping for dinner.
  • I do not like wind under any circumstances. I have no problem doing stuff in the rain.
  • I’d rather sweat and suffer than take the time to stop and take off a layer and be comfortable.
  • It really bothers me to go somewhere if I haven’t looked at it/found it on a map first. Makes no difference if it’s a store in-town or a lake in the backcountry. I don’t like finding places on the fly.
  • Public speaking to a small group is much worse than a large group in terms of pucker-factor.
  • I’m very self-conscious about “looking” like I’m good at something if I’m not. I would never wear a fancy cycling kit or ride a super expensive bike because I’m not a very good cyclist. I live in fear of looking like a poser so I end up wearing ratty old t-shirts rather than something that’s probably more functional.
  • I don’t think twice about hiking, cycling, backpacking, skiing, etc… solo. Going to a movie or restaurant by myself – will never happen.

And of course – who’d be dumb enough to give up a perfectly good job and house in the silicon valley to move to Idaho with only a vague plan for what comes next? WTF?