Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Food News: The Food and Drink Issue

Buried under mounds of internet browser tabs, I uncovered a little gem from the New York Times Magazine. Yes, you guessed it (or maybe you didn't), the 2012 Food & Drink Issue! And of course, with an election only two weeks off, there is a bit of a political bent. Here's a peak, but you should really check it out yourself.

Land of a Billion Vegetables
Mark Bittman paints a picture of the large scale vegetable farms in the Central Valley of California - the the produce basket of the U.S. This region, larger than the size of nine States, has some of the most fertile soils in the country, lots of sun, temperate winter weather, and water resources beyond rainfall. But sadly, it has also become a region of polluted air, contaminated soils, and increasingly overdrafted water. While destructive practices tend to be the norm, Bittman describes those farmers running off the beaten path, trying alternative methods and technologies - like Integrated Pest Management or solar water pumps. But the issue is bigger than organic vs. conventional, where those terms may not actually be very indicative of the sustainability of practices. To conclude, Bittman warns "If we want a system of farming that’s sustainable on all levels, we have to think about a national food and farming policy. And as I was looking out at Buxman’s amazing land, it occurred to me just how amazing it is that we don’t have one."

Vote for the Dinner Party!
You can thank Michael Pollan for distinguishing between a general sentiment and a movement. He cites as examples the proposition in California to label GMOs, the taxes on soft drinks that are starting to pop up, and the ballooning set of complaints against the meat industry. Big Ag is developing a reputation of notoriety, and people are starting to be vocal and fight back. Pollan argues, however, that the 'food movement' hasn't yet made it to the point of shaking the foundations of federal policy. While we get to vote with our fork three times a day (yes, that is a Pollanism), elections don't happen everyday. And who we elect, and how Californians vote on GMO labeling, will influence the strength and trajectory of this nascent food movement.

Who Made the Whisk?
I'm not going to spoil it, but let's just say it predates us by a few generations. History of cooking gadgets is fascinating!

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