Saturday, March 2, 2013

Real food

I like food, but I would not describe myself as a "foodie". I read the "Table for Two" restaurant reviews in the New Yorker, but I can't imagine eating some of what they describe. There is a new Salvadoran restaurant here downtown that I want to try, but not the cow's foot soup. And I'm not about to consume song birds while hiding my face under a napkin.

I like to cook from scratch. It occurred to me one day, while I was foraging for a snack, that my kitchen does not contain food per se, but ingredients. If I want something other than a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit, I have to make it. Most of the time, this is fine, but evenings when I am too tired or grumpy to bother, it can lead to some odd "meals".

I take Michael Pollen's commandment to eat real food, not food-like substances, to heart. So the news that the dairy industry wants to add Aspartame to milk without labeling it just felt so disingenuous and disheartening. Artificial sweeteners have been adversely implicated in many health issues, but to not even include it in ingredient lists makes food labels one big fat lie. (To comment on this petition, go here.)

I was so upset about this yesterday (and maybe my B-O-R-I-N-G job contributed to my feelings) that I contemplated going to law school just for the pleasure of doing battle on issues such as this one. I even went so far as to request information from the local law school that is scheduled to open here in the fall. They responded with a detailed description of their program. It sounds like a lot of work (at a time in my life when I don't want to work hard anymore) and involves a lot of face time, both in class and in the "real world" (when I don't care all that much for people in general these days) that the fire in my belly quickly died.

Meanwhile, I will continue with my herd share, at least until the state of Indiana takes that away, which they are trying to do, the rats. It is very discouraging that plain old ordinary, unprocessed, uncontaminated food is becoming more and more difficult to find, the rebirth of the organic movement notwithstanding. It makes my daydream of a mini-farm sound better all the time. Except for the hard work part.


  1. As a former 'dieter' I worked hard for years to give up artificial sweeteners, so the idea they could be added without my consent to foods is horrifying to me, to say nothing of the fact that aspartame is extremely toxic to people with a certain genetic condition--I thought it had to be labeled for that reason?

  2. When you mentioned it the other day, I was pretty sure law school was not something you'd be interested in doing this close to retirement, but I didn't want to say so because of the way you asked the question. It's an all-consuming undertaking, not just while you're in school but for a few years after.

    That HuffPo article is a little confusing but it sounds as if this only applies to flavored milk, not all milk. Also, the fact that it includes the already debunked claim that artificial sweeteners make people crave high-calorie foods makes me think they're trying to push the panic button on this.