The Politics of Eating

Like I mention last week, most American’s couldn’t tell you their food comes from. It’s sad, but its our own systems fault. We subsidize corn and soy to keep prices low (not to mention use bioengineering to extract items from said products that we use in 70% of the food we eat) and we do the same for meats like beef and pork (which along with chicken are the most subsidized foods in this country.)

What am I getting at?

Food should be plentiful, and found everywhere. Here in America, it is plentiful but why? Our government keeps it that way. They do it for many reasons, most of which are in such detail that it would take quite a while to talk about. However, did you know that only FOUR companies control most of this market? Four. Bet that blew most of your minds. Yes, its true.Farmers no longer raise cattle for personal slaughter. Instead we send bovines and pigs and chickens to slaughter houses en mass. Hundreds of thousands of them. Oh no! What else is appalling is the size of our food. We seem to have increase the size of the meat (in the case of chicken breasts) yet decreased the price.

As a chef for sustainable agriculture, I believe it’s important to respect the quality of food. I ask myself:

Does our current system work? Yes, but what are the costs? E-coli poisoning, poor quality of meat, wasted product. I’ve said this time in and time out, the most important habit a young chef can do, especially if they would like to attend a culinary school or institute, is learn all that you can about food. Food makes up the lifeblood of our beautiful, diverse world, where cultures and history are defined simply by what we place inside our mouths.

PSA: Don’t allow inferior product to come out of your kitchens.

What about cooking at home?

Cooking at home is obviously a much different hand of cards than cooking for a restaurant. It still is a place where you can educate yourself. When you shop at a grocery store pay attention to the quality of the items you purchase. Is it organic? Is it fed antibiotics or sprayed with pesticides? Does it come from an area with poor health standards? Just ask yourself these questions, and it will allow for a healthier and much more educated decision next time your reaching for that handful of strawberries that came from Mexico.

Later these week I’ll dive a little deeper into our subjects. Til then.

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