This Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Dangers of Vacation Reading

I read many books about food this vacation. It all kind of ties into my obsession with gardening. I think the whole reason I started gardening again (after suffering through dreaded chores in my mother’s garden) was because I simply was too poor in college to afford fresh herbs and unusual vegetables. I think the idea of really good food drives many people to garden.

But back on topic. Lot’s of books on food. I read The Nasty Bits by celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and Garlic and Sapphires by food critic Ruth Reichl and, as a very odd juxtaposition to those two, I also read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. All had come highly recommended and I enjoyed them all, but how odd they were to read together.

On one hand, there was a glorification of food, no matter the cost, no matter the price. Descriptions of food that would have made Gandhi want to break his fast. Then to read about the real cost of the food. The cost that you don’t pay for in dollars or cents but rather in morals and health. Oddly enough, as well, all three books at least touched on both sides. It made me think and it made me realize that maybe I need to somehow get interested in Danielle Steele because that was too much thinking for a vacation.

I love food. I love growing food. I love cooking food. I love (and mean really love) eating food. But being forced to face where your food comes from and what the real costs are… Well, let’s just say grocery shopping today was not as easy as it normally is.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not naive. I did, after all, grow up in farm country. I did, after all, grow up eating bacon while staring at the fridge where there hung the picture of the previously whole pig and its proud but tearful 4-H owner. I know just how much fertilizer and pesticides get dumped on crops and I know just how much farmer’s sacrifice to grow those crops. I just normally choose to ignore it.

A girl has to eat you know.

But now I am thinking about it and I just don’t know what to do. I just wish I could grow all the food I need right here on this tiny plot of land. Unfortunately, I seriously doubt that city ordinance would allow me to have a flock of chickens and weeds taller than 6 inches high.

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