the global rant

or "the hyphen post"

 

this post is dedicated to my aunt jm, because i had no clue what to write today until we started talking.

thanks, stock.xchngtell me to eat globally and i immediately get a mental image of some large, obviously omnivorous being trying to swallow the planet whole. obviously omnivorous because think of all the many different plants and creatures that make up our world. one large bite would get it all, and i just can't image a being of that size waiting to pick off all the pepperoni or push the peas to the corner of the plate... planet?

i will humbly admit i am still in the confused consumer group. and, by consumer, i don't just mean a purchaser of goods. i mean as a consumer of food. i have no clue what to eat. (i do know how to eat, and i silently thank my parents for giving me such skills and providing me with table manners every time i eat out. or face down a truly potentially messy meal.) a good part of my problem is i know too much. i've been reading way too many books about food: what's good for you, what's bad, where you should get your food, where you shouldn't, why the food you got earlier is now bad for you, and so on. it's all so interesting. and contradictory. and, for a pretty middle-of-the-rung person like me, it's all so difficult.

how can i eat globally if i'm supposed to eat locally? can the two co-exist? and by globally, do you you mean flavors and cuisines which can be adapted or do you mean whole foods-strawberries-in-winter-by-the-mile style? and if you mean the first, do you mean fusion foods, which could just possibly - i've been told - be a name made up as an excuse to serve rolled up tacos sliced to look like sushi? and if it's the latter, won't al gore shake his finger disappointedly at me? i don't think i could take that shame - not from a man who's shown up on 30 rock so many times and who's carbon footprint is probably so small he probably shoe shops in the children's department.

"organic" is a safe word, but it's also a dirty word, and not just dirty in the rinse-me-off,-we-didn't-use-pesticides way. it's dirty in the it-sounds-safe-and-good-and-maybe-the-hens-actually-see-the-sky-but-they-don't-actually-get-breathing-room sort of way. i like breathing room. i'm a bit claustrophobic myself. what if my food was, too? before it became my food, that is. i would feel a good bit of guilt if my food died of fright. that might make me frightened to eat my frightened food. and what have we come to, that "organic" sounds plastic and all-natural means corn? or corn flavoring? if i eat global organic, does that mean my veggies were farmed without pesticides, too close together, on depleted soils, a good far away and then flavored with cumin, five spice, and basil and topped off with truffles?

i'd like to eat locally. i do as it is - i'll eat at my table, at my office desk, and at bars. all in the same city.  that counts for something, i'm sure, but i'd like to eat locally, with food fresh from markets and farmers and coffee from sh. but with limited hours, there's never enough time. i'm sure there's something to be gained from eating in season. but why then - really, why? - does trader joe's carry avocados all year? someone must know and must be exploiting my love of green fruit.

and then there's the cost. hi, i'm done with college, but i'm still pretty broke. and if it's true that the higher your income, the better your food - well, i'm screwed. as it is, i don't eat fast food and i limit my fry consumption (okay, not true), but what can you do when most restaurant foods aren't labeled and what is labeled is wrong? (most calorie counts can be about 200 calories off - in either direction. for those subsiting off of cheap carbohydrate-based products and fatty (corn-fed) meats, you're screwed, too.)

but wait, then there's the diet books. count calories. count carbs. cut protein. cut salt. wait, no salt's fine, unless you're in the my-kidney-or-liver's-failing-salt-sensative group. cut fat. which fat? any fat? fat's bad. no, hang on, some fat's good. you're fat. is it any wonder we all have body issues? maybe we should all become fruititarians. but not the over-the-top kind, we'll keep brushing our teeth.

so, i'll eat global when global makes sense. i'll eat local when local's affordable. i'll eat organic when it's not a happy meal in disguise. i'll eat fast food when they actually serve food. i'll go to farmer's market's when i can make time (a sat. soon, sh, hopefully). i'll count calories when you can count them. i'll cut foods when i'm sure beyond a shadow-of-a-doubt they'll kill me. i'll stop cutting foods when i get back my self-esteem.

but until then, all i can eat is haphazard-cuisine.