Monday, December 20, 2010
Latest Read: Eating Animals
I have an uncomfortable relationship with meat. Chicken is tasty and salmon divine, yet factory farming makes my stomach queasy. Reading Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals (Little, Brown and Co., 2009) didn't ease my discomfort one calorie.
Safran Foer describes his visits to factory farms with the graphic precision of an inspired novelist, which of course he is. He also turns his pen over to meat processors, farmers and activists so they can relate their experiences. He muses on his collective findings and admits to the awkward aspects of going veg, like the difficulty in sitting apart from a communal table. He doesn't mention the issue of time. Me, I covet time, and butchering each haricot vert and stalk of swiss chard takes up a lot of it. Skimming Saran off a styro-pack of chicken parts, in contrast, does not.
Trouble is, I know too much about family farming. I grew up between a dairy farm and an alfalfa field. We carried home unpasteurized milk in old Beckers jugs from the neighbours. We bought beef by the gutsy fraction--a quarter or a half a cow--from the guy down the road. We weren't trying to be ethical or local-eaters. The food was just available, affordable and tasty. Finding the same kind of products seems like a luxury now. Eating animals is complicated and uncomfortable. I can't promise what I'll be eating a year from now, but I'm soaking lentils after I post this entry.