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Real food transcends politics

Posted Oct 15 2010 12:00am
I’ve been sampling a bunch of new food blogs lately, following random links, allowing one website to lead me to the next in that odd way the Internet has of taking you places you never expected to visit. It’s great how many sites these days are devoted to real food -- finding it, cooking it, enjoying it. Yeah, the calorie-counting diet folks are still out there, but whenever I land on one of their blogs, they always sound exhausted to me. Which isn’t surprising, given they’re fighting a hopeless battle and getting nowhere.

Dieting is so over. Real food is where it’s at!

What’s real food, you ask? It’s food made from recognizable ingredients, preferably originating nearby and prepared by you or someone you know -- as opposed to fake food, which contains unpronounceable chemicals and rolls off a factory assembly line.

People who eat real food are motivated by a wide range of interests, ranging from health and weight loss to economics and social justice. In fact, one of the coolest things about this movement is how it cuts across political and social boundaries.

The real-food bloggers I’ve been reading come in a variety of flavors, from crunchy New Age to conservative Christian. There are certainly Volvo-driving, Whole Foods-shopping lefties in this crowd, but there are just as many anti-government types who don’t trust our centralized food supply chain and want out of the matrix.

Consider pastured eggs, for a moment. They’re prized equally by health enthusiasts for their high levels of good fats and other nutrients, by gourmet cooks for their superior flavor and quality, and by animal sympathizers for the kinder way in which they’re produced. In fact, there are so many good reasons to choose eggs from a backyard chicken over supermarket eggs that it really doesn’t matter why you do it -- just that you do it!

Even that stereotype about fresh food being for rich people isn’t really accurate anymore. Local food doesn’t have to break your budget if you grow it yourself, join a CSA, or cooperate with your friends. The most delicious eggs I ever ate were free: a neighbor gave them to me in exchange for feeding his flock while they were out of town. The eggs weren’t certified organic, but the chickens ate organic feed and roamed around outdoors as chickens were intended to do. I saw for myself how healthy they were and how well they were treated.

By contrast, organic supermarket eggs are often produced under conditions hardly any different from regular eggs. The chickens are just as confined and their lives just as miserable. (See how different brands rate on the Cornucopia Institute’s organic egg scorecard .)

The recent New York Times Magazine food issue revolves around the theme of community and how the food movement is uniting people from many different walks of life. The best thing about real food, if you ask me, is that it’s one of those rare topics that brings people together, rather than driving them apart!
©2010 Make Friends With Food
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