Sunday, September 16, 2007
I've been reading a book called "The Omnivore's Dilemma," by Michael Pollan. It's an amazing book about what we eat and where it comes from. Turns out almost everything we eat comes from corn -- and our diets are getting cornier all the time. When I saw a commercial for Kraft Cheese during a football game, I was sort of outraged by the image of cows eating grass behind the actors. That is how cattle should eat -- but it is not how Kraft cows (and most other cows eat). Instead cows are force-fed corn to fatten them up quickly, even though it causes them to get sick and requires that they be given massive antibiotic shots. I'm no vegetarian, but I was struck by the "natural story" that Kraft advances when they clearly practice factory farming. One other quick point from the book: the words "free range" (which we use to describe chicken and cattle) were hotly debated over the last decade. The watered-down compromise definition now reads "Animals have to have access to the outdoors during some part of their lives" in order to be considered free range. Not the story most of us conjure up when we buy these products at the Whole Foods.