"There's no food in your food." - Joan Cusack in Say Anything.
"I think this horse has turned..." - O Brother, Where Art Thou?
This post is brought to you by Food, Inc, FoodMatters, The Omnivore's Dilemma, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, several other books/magazines/documentaries, and my own conscience. Any resemblance to your eating habits is entirely coincidental.
First of all, yes, this will be a slightly serious blog (scramble to get out now if you must, Chicken BobBabyPants) and no, I am not giving up meat and going vegan. Although if the payoff is to have Shania Twain's rocking abs, then I may reconsider.
But I am going to try to change the way I eat and shop and cook and I need you guys, my little sweetie muckins, to keep me accountable and maybe even join me in my journey.
I don't mind eating meat. I'm an animal lover as much as the next gal; I have my doggy, Mr. Milo Farts-A-Lot, and I've had horses and chickens and kitty cats, but I'm not hypocritical about killing and butchering and eating Bessie the bovine. I love all meats really; besides the boring ol' chicken breast I've had goat, bear, bison, alligator, lamb, octopus, and I don't really turn up my nose at anything someone feels like cooking for me. After all, I don't understand why us white bred (or is it bread? haha!) Americans will snarf down a hamburger or a chicken nugget but make gagging sounds over other animals. Have you ever looked into a big old cow's brown eyes? They're stinking adorable. Chickens are snuggly little fuzzy cuties. If you can eat that you have no business getting all appalled at munching on some lamb chops. But that's not my point. Where was I? I have no idea. Right.
After living the last year in a group home where we ate only meat people gave us or the food bank sold us I have been more diligent than ever to get that @#$#%^ out of our system now. We were eating frozen chicken that didn't come with labels. Just huge unmarked fowls from some nameless factory. Rolls of ground beef (or horse, who the heck knew). Anyway, it gave me the creeps to eat it but eat it we did. You put enough Rooster sauce on something and it's gonna be tasty.
Now that we're back to being able to shop the way I want, I still haven't made that leap to buying organic meat. It's so unbelievably expensive! No, wait. It's not. It's just that compared to the mass produced nastiness you can buy for a couple greenbacks a pound, it's expensive. But have we really sunk so low, folks, that we would buy steak at the Dollar Tree?
I'm not kidding. They had it last week.
After learning that our chicken we buy is soaked in chlorine to get the bacteria to die and the beef is treated with ammonia for the same reason, I'm not sure I want to eat it again. There's so much feces in our meat that I'd like to quit thinking about it now. I mean, I'm a mom; I've dealt with poop on epic levels. But I draw the line at eating it. You do know that you have to cook meat to certain temperatures not because it's dangerous to eat the meat itself under cooked, but because you need to kill off all that lovely poop so you can eat it and not get sick.
I knew about soybeans and corn and GMOs. I knew about organic dairy and I've been buying that for years. I knew about free range chickens and I much prefer handing over my wrinkly dollars bills to a neighbor down the road for eggs. But I've buried my head in the sand, so to speak, about the meat.
Now I'm not really talking about going vegetarian. I love a medium rare steak. I love chicken. A meal without meat feels incomplete. But I certainly can't afford to feed it to my family of five seven days a week.
So what Mike and I are proposing to the girls is to be meat free four days a week. And on the three where we can have it, it'll be the good stuff. This will be harder for them at lunch because I'm going to stop buying nuggets and fish sticks, which is their lunchtime staple food. What about lunch meat? I'm gonna assume that mechanically separated animal parts smooshed back together probably isn't super natural. Who knows how many different turkeys are smashed into one paper thin slice? We can't have peanut butter remember, due to G's allergies. No one cares for the almond stuff. There may be a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches in the Williams' future. Ideas, please?
Is it really so bad? Well, you could ask the workers who work at these plants (only 13 in the nation and they control the whole industry. Fifty years ago there were thousands. Isn't that weird? How powerful are they?) but most are illegal and aren't going to talk to you.
Sometimes I think that a hundred years from now, scientists are really going to shake their goatee-d heads and mutter about our stupidity. Why are we questioning the onslaught of cancers and autism and ADD and diabetes and all of these maladies that are so on the rise, it's disgusting? I can picture them saying as they nibble on a real tomato and not the kind that's been unnaturally ripened with methane gasses, "can't believe our ancestors couldn't figure out they were killing themselves...raising money for cures while they consumed huge quantities of pesticides, bleaches, GMOs, antibiotics...what a bunch of morons..."
Am I overreacting? What do you think? Does Tyson deserve our respect as long as their chickens are pumped full of so much food their legs can't support them and they've never seen daylight? I have a soft spot for chickies...my sister had a brood as a kid and they all had names. She also had a chicken hat that she wore in public just to humiliate me but that's another story for another day.
So what do you think? Should Mike take up hunting? Is organic milk not enough, should we go to raw? Can we do this pseudo vegetarianism? Will I lose weight? Will I become an annoying person who refuses to eat at other people's houses and has weird restrictions that really make everyone want to smack me? Will I have to wear patterned tights and put my four year old in a sling and only shop at fair trade markets? Will I have to brew my own beer and go to story time and march in protests? Will I start looking at clothing tags next? I don't look good in patterned tights and Birkenstocks... Will I start hanging out with the recyclers? Cuz I stink at recycling and I think they'll vote me off the island eventually. I have zero desire to own an electric car. Can a liberal eater still vote Republican?
Who's with me?
Criminy, I really want a flippin' hamburger now. Get it? Flippin' burgers?? HAHAHA!