Eating with a Conscience

I'm guilty.

Yes, I've bought Tyson chickens before instead of farm-raised ones grown closer to my box of an apartment in Manhattan. And there's been more than one occasion where I picked the pink farm-raised salmon over the wild Alaskan salmon to serve at dinner parties. I admit it's difficult to always eat organically and responsibly - even more so on a student budget.

It didn't help that I finally saw the documentary "Food, Inc." this past weekend. Much of the film discusses how our fast-food culture has changed the way Americans consume food. I didn't learn anything I didn't know before but seeing this documentary reminded me that I do have the choice. It comes at a cost, but we do have choice in what we buy at grocery stores, restaurants and farmer's markets. Do we really need to consume heavily-processed foods that use corn, sugar or oil as a basis? I think you know the answer to that one.

I'd say most of the chefs in school made it a point to tell us to always use the best, most seasonal ingredients possible. Not only does that help your food taste better, but many of them would say it's a way to support independent businesses and farmers.

But when you're a small enterprise, how do you afford to be a "locavore?" Well, maybe it means serving less meat and more vegetables or coming up with creative entrees. Most of all, it requires knowing your purveyors and what's in season, which is something a chef should do anyhow.

So the next time I'm faced with a choice, I'll do my best to eat with a conscience.