Everyone Else is Talking About the Garden…

March 23, 2009 at 5:48 pm

In these crazy times, its nice to get some good news. The Obama’s planted their vegetable garden.  I realize I’m probably the last food blogger on the planet to write about it, life got busy and my Reader got out of control.

For those who haven’t been paying attention, the NY Times reports that the garden will have

55 varieties of vegetables, including “red romaine, green oak leaf, butter head, red leaf and galactic lettuces, spinach, chard, collards and black kale, shallots, shell peas, sugar snap peas, broccoli, fennel, and rhubarb and onions.”

The article goes on to discuss the blogosphere’s calls for the Obama’s to include beets in the garden. I think 55 vegetables is probably sufficient, and we can live without the beets, but perhaps I’m in the minority on this.  Alice Waters is, of course, estatic about the garden.

Andrew Martin wrote a lengthy article for the NY Times detailing the current state of the food movement, begging the question “Is a Food Revolution Now In Season?” Of course, many of the ideas have been around for years, and, in the case of Alice Waters and Chez Panisse, decades. But at any rate, people are noticing, myself included. Clearly, I can’t pretend to not be jumping on the bandwagon just like everyone else.

Mark Bittman’s article in the NY Times discusses the “revolution” and the fact that eating well isn’t as simple as eating organic:

To eat well, says Michael Pollan, the author of “In Defense of Food,” means avoiding “edible food-like substances” and sticking to real ingredients, increasingly from the plant kingdom. (Americans each consume an average of nearly two pounds a day of animal products.) There’s plenty of evidence that both a person’s health — as well as the environment’s — will improve with a simple shift in eating habits away from animal products and highly processed foods to plant products and what might be called “real food.” (With all due respect to people in the “food movement,” the food need not be “slow,” either.)

Hence, the organic status of salmon flown in from Chile, or of frozen vegetables grown in China and sold in the United States — no matter the size of the carbon footprint left behind by getting from there to here.

Marion Nestle, a professor at New York University’s department of nutrition, food studies and public health, “Organic junk food is still junk food.”

And really, that’s what it comes down to for me.  Clearly, eating organic, or vegetarian, or local isn’t the complete solution to America’s diet problem.   The solution is eating better overall, more vegetables, less red meat (Huffington Post reported today that a new study shows that Lots Of Red Meat Increases Mortality Risk), less sugar and empty calories.  I’m not leaving tomorrow to go lobby Congress for better school lunches, more funding for organic farmers or a ban on candy.  I’m going to keep only eating meat once a day, trying to consume more produce and educating myself.  When I can, I’ll feed others and share with them what I know.  I really think that’s one of the best things I can do.  That’s how I got into this movement and I think word of mouth is a good way to get others into eating right as well.

In closing, I really appreciated this quote from Ed Levine at Serious Eats: “This food revolution, like all revolutions, is a marathon, not a sprint, and you have to be in it to win it.”

Also, my very own copy of How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman arrived in the mail today :)

I realize posting about the organic/slow/vegetarian food movement and Taylor Pork Roll on the same day may seem contradictory.  It probably is.  I believe that there are generally better ways of eating, but that’s no reason to not eat food simply because it tastes good on occasion.  I can’t be good all the time.

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