Monday, July 6, 2009

Heritage Radio Network and thoughts on BBQ and What to Eat?

Sounds like some right wing Christian thinktank, but thankful it's a Bushwick based radio station that's all about food and food related topics.

Today while blogging and doing research I've been listening to Urban Foraging. These guys and gals are a hoot.

I couldn't get the entire episode to play, but the segments played fine. I just finished listening to Extracting Flavors from Ingredients a chat with Will Goldfarb (dessert chef and owner of Room 4 Dessert) hosted by Zakary Pelaccio, Jori Jayne Emde.

The highlight of the conversation for me was the discussion of smoke, liquid smoke and how grilling and barbecuing things are carcinogenic.

My potentially annoying side note to this is that after having survived July 4th BBQ's I realize that between smoking cigarettes, consuming factory farmed meat, drinking GM high fructose corn syrup with gay abandon that most people really are either blissfully unaware of the dangers lurking in our food and to a larger extent in our food system or, they know, but just don't care.

Which makes me wonder, why do I care? I wish I had an answer for that, I wish the whole thing was simpler, but alas it isn't.

My favorite comment about my food habits from this weekend was the delightful and very generous hostess of one BBQ I went to who, when offering me a platter of hamburgers (some with bright orange American "cheese") and hot dogs on white buns, said:

"Oh just have one! I know you're all bitchy about food, but..." then she re-thought the offer and moved on to more enthusiastic eaters.

This theme is appearing in my life: what can I eat? Or probably more honestly put, what will I eat now that I know what I know about our food and our food system. A few days after seeing Food, Inc. I was on the subway reading Pollan's Botany of Desire as a bookmark I was using a postcard for Food, Inc. when my stop came I got up to exit and dropped my book the postcard fell to the floor as I bent down to pick it up an young Indian woman sitting across from me saw it and said excitedly:

"Oh I saw that at the Film Forum yesterday! Did you see it? I loved was great, but now, I don't know what to eat."

Jon Stewart in his interview with Robert Kenner the maker of Food, Inc. echos this comment with: "I saw your movie and now i don't know what to eat."

Neil has banished himself from the hospital where he works cafeteria and complains now all the time: " There is nothing to eat!"

Which has started a healthy trend; I know make sure Neil has a lunch to take to work with him. It's cheaper and he knows from whence his food came.

Not sure where this particular digression was meant to go, other than to say I wonder how this will all play out?

As someone who soaks himself in information about the dire state of our environment and the relationship big agriculture, chemical companies, government subsidies and our general food culture plays in creating it, you have to wonder how long can it last? How long can we go along buying the same old deadly foods before something happens?

Certainly big business will fight tooth and nail to maintain the status quo because it makes them powerful and rich. In a recent panel discussion Anthony Bourdain confronts Alice Waters and tells her that all that matters, basically, is that it's cheap and tastes good and everything else is irrelevant.

Obviously where I stand on this is clear. I find it hard to even listen to Bourdain speak as he just seems to horribly out of touch and willfully stupid. However, he represents a large portion of the population.

So what to do? For me all I feel I can do is to continue to read and understand as much as is possible what the moral, ethical and environmental impact is on the way we eat and the way food is made and from there, make decisions on how and what I will eat.

This weekend made it clear to me that even people who know better are in no hurry to change the way they eat. It's deeply personal, ingrained and very hard to change something you have been doing all your life.

Change comes very slowly.
My hope is that urbanfoodguy and all the thoughts/ideas/information here in might, just might and help change hurry up a little bit!

Watch the video and see what we're up against:

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