Lab Cat

11 May 2008

Chefs to Solve the Food Crisis

Filed under: Food — Tags: , — Cat @ 10:27 pm

My Aspargus from My GARDEN. Yum.

Talking of organic food, Dan Barber over at the New York Times seems to think that chefs are the key to improving our food choices.

Chefs can help move our food system into the future by continuing to demand the most flavorful food.

Well, I was kinda hoping that they were doing this already.

Leave our agricultural future to chefs and anyone who takes food and cooking seriously. We never bought into the “bigger is better” mantra, not because it left us too dependent on oil, but because it never produced anything really good to eat. Truly great cooking — not faddish 1.5-pound rib-eye steaks with butter sauce, but food that has evolved from the world’s thriving peasant cuisines — is based on the correspondence of good farming to a healthy environment and good nutrition. It’s never been any other way, and we should be grateful. The future belongs to the gourmet.

I find it interesting that he suggests that professional in the food industry, which includes chefs btw, are not taking food and cooking seriously. All of my colleagues in the food industry take food very very seriously and most of them have gourmet tastes. However, if we want cheap food we cannot so easily have good tasting food and unless more people are willing to work as hard as a farmer*, big agriculture has to be here to stay.

To be honest, when chefs find a way to create their marvelous dishes with less fat, salt and sugar, I will be going to them for food advice. And when all restaurants stop serving dishes so large that I can make three meals out of one dish I will start to believe them that they “don’t buy into the ‘bigger is better’ mantra”

*I grow my own veg and some of my fruit. At today’s farmers’ market I didn’t buy much except some plants and eggs as I have rhubarb, asparagus, spring garlic, and lettuce (in my case sorrel) growing like crazy in the garden. I did buy some “Hot Spring” tomatoes and forgot to ask how they got them ready so early.

Fortunately, however, I am not dependent on my garden for a living. So if I don’t want to do the work I do not have to. My potatoes, because of a two week acute backache, were only planted last Tuesday about 6 weeks after they should have been. My tomatoes and basil are still waiting to be planted. Together with the hot peppers that I purchased today. I never got round to starting any broccoli seeds or other cabbagey seeds, so I am going to be dependent on the supermarket for those. If I were a farmer, I would have had to got them ready.

Ok irrelevant rant over.

Oh except to say – does anyone know of a carbon footprint calculator that allows for you to grow your own produce? I have a large footprint because of the size of the house, which I had to buy to get the garden I needed. All footprint calculators I have seen allow for composting (sadly raccoons are a pest around here and get in the compost so until I can afford a composter, I am compost free) or purchasing locally. Yep, I purchase between a third and two thirds of my produce very locally 😉

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2 Comments »

  1. The asparagus picture looks yummy! As to chefs, I have to laugh when anyone say they don’t buy into the bigger is better mantra. I am sure some don’t, but most, Lordy do they give you a lot of food. Two meals from one is nice, but wouldn’t it be less waist-ful (pun intended) to just reduce portions?

    Comment by Lisa — 12 May 2008 @ 9:01 am

  2. Great reaction. Chefs have a close relationship with consumer wants (as do big business) and I find it very hard to delineate between where the one ends and the other starts. How does one remake an entire nation’s approach to food?

    Comment by Chou — 18 May 2008 @ 8:13 pm


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