I’m only about 25% on the organic food bandwagon. Really, it’s just a hassle to find good organic produce because my best bet is Whole Foods Market, but it’s all the way in Rochester and that drive is not something I want to make once a week. So, I just make the sacrifice and buy pesticide-rich fruits and veggies at my favorite market.
When it comes to meat, though? I honestly don’t even want to touch something that isn’t organic, vegetarian fed, and free range. Part of it is because the living conditions of mass-produced animals (because that’s really what they are–mass produced) disgusts me. I’ve never been of the mindset that “they’re just animals.” Honestly, just because they’re not “higher thinking” beings like humans doesn’t mean their livelihoods aren’t important. People are mortified by dogs kept in any ill manner, but a room of chickens with their beaks cut off, standing all on top of each other, wading in their own feces? Well that’s just fine as long as it’s only two bucks a pound to eat their breasts with the bones and skin removed!
I’m not against meat eating in any way, whatsoever…I’m pretty sure I could not survive without a nice, juicy piece of chicken or steak once in a while. Animals in the wild hunt and kill each other for sustenance. Sure, we don’t have to do that to survive anymore; we’re perfectly able to stay alive and well on proteins from the food of the earth. I don’t see why, just because we have the luxury of “higher thought,” though, that it makes eating meat unethical. Yet, on the other hand, I do find it unethical to essentially torture an animal for their entire life, just to make food cheap.
I recently bought a cookbook by Jamie Oliver called “Cook with Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook” and he has some pretty good arguments to make about people’s eating habits. He makes a point about how we’ll search like crazy to make sure we get the best quality television, cell phone, car, any number of materialistic possessions. But when it comes to the food that we put into our bodies, whatever’s cheapest will do. Who cares about fat content or whether a piece of chicken is truly plump, meaty, and tender. Who cares if we’re loading our bodies up with preservatives and weird chemicals that we can barely pronounce let alone know the effects of on our bodies. Who cares if we’re eating pesticides from fruit that isn’t quite as juicy or flavorful as it should be. Cheap is the way to go!
A lot of people claim that they just can’t afford organic food, especially meat. Jamie uses low income families in Italy as an example, stating that they eat the best quality meat, but only a few times a week, making pasta and vegetables the general meal staple, which keeps costs down. That’s actually a really healthy way of eating too! In America, it’s all meat meat meat. Meat is the main star of the meal and everybody trying to lose weight is nixing everything but that. If you take a look at countries where most of the population is of healthy weight, though, they aren’t packing themselves with beef! They’re eating everything in moderation. Hell, in France, they’re eating pastries for breakfast each morning and are still thinner than we are. You can bet your ass they’re also probably using real butter when they cook rather than replacing everything with weird solidified liquids that are “flavored” like butter.
This whole rant stems from a recent chicken purchase I made. Until recently, my freezer was well stocked with pieces of bone-in, skin-on chicken my mom bought for me at Sam’s Club. Every time I wanted to make a meal, I had to stand at the sink for 10 minutes cutting the fat off the meat. It’s not only gross, but it’s a hassle I don’t want to bother with, especially because I can never remember that I have to do it until it’s too late; my pan is already hot and I’m staring at huge globs of yellow, mushy fat covering my chicken thighs. B. and I took a trip to Whole Foods the other day, though, purchased a vegetarian fed, free range, organic chicken and, when I cut it up…there wasn’t a sliver of fat to be seen. Not the tiniest bit. Why? Because the chicken wasn’t stuffed with protein, leading a sedentary life standing on top of some other poor, fat, sedentary chicken!
Anyway, beyond that, I even found a big difference in how the chicken tasted. We cooked the chicken thighs in the exact same manner that we cook all of our chicken–the exact same temperature, exact same length of time. Yet, this chicken was incredibly plump, juicy, and so tender you could cut it with a fork. No exaggeration, whatsoever. This thing sliced like butter.I’ve never eaten such delicious chicken all on its own before. It was a truly delectable meal and all the credit goes to the chicken, itself.
So, my next goal is beef. That one’s going to be harder because it’s not like I can buy a whole cow to cut up myself, haha. With the chicken, I paid just over two dollars a pound, since it was a whole chicken. If I’d wanted boneless, skinless breasts (as, I feel, most people buy), I’d have paid over six dollars a pound for organic, free range, vegetarian fed. So, cutting up my own chicken brought me down to about the price everybody else pays for someone else to cut up their meat and skin and de-bone it. There’s no way I’m cutting up my own beef, though, soooo I’m pretty much screwed on that front. But…maybe I should be looking to the Italians for inspiration! I’m already taking a note from Europe and having a bit of wine with every meal anyway 😉