› ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › Looking Dinner in the Eye
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Looking Dinner in the Eye

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter

Perhaps a controversial article, maybe an indicator of changes ...

post #2 of 11
I think he is spot on. IMHO, most people are woefully ignorant about where their food comes from.

But I seriously doubt it is an indicator of change. The trend is still to put price above quality. Everybody hates Wal-Mart but the stores are still crowded.
post #3 of 11
Not sure what the point is in showing dinner being butchered - - unless it is to add that "wow factor" to a show. After all, if people see it, discuss it, write about it, it's all publicity (it creates an impression). IMHO, do a majority of people care if the chef (or the butcher, or the fish monger etc.) personally knew the items on his menu - - I don't think so. Certainly there are methods of raising food that are better than others (including butchering) and don't deny that there are taste differences but for the majority of people, cost is most often the deciding factor. Do you agree that to a certain portion of our population, the more something costs, the more prestigous (read that "important") they appear? If that's so, then again, cost, albeit for an altogether different reason, is the determining factor.

Shel, you've again posted an interesting article but didn't notice you weighing in on your question of whether it was a sign of things to come.
post #4 of 11
Thanks Shel, very interesting :)

PS If they wanted an audience, they sure got the reactions
post #5 of 11
I am generally annoyed at watching Jamie Oliver on TV, but I also realize that visionaries sometimes need to go to extremes to change the way people think about certain things. Killing on stage is a bit extreme in my book and certainly has a commercial appeal to entertainment seekers who crave more and more shock value, but I do applaud his efforts toward the ultimate goal. Most of us who respect our food sources don't need this kind of demonstration. I don't think there's anything wrong with being uncomfortable about killing animals. But thanklessly thinking that cows grow like plants and are magically butchered and cryovacked cheaply for our enjoyment is a far more hainous crime than slaughtering an animal for the purpose of being eaten... Like so many worthy causes and philanthropic trends, this too will become big business for some. But isn't it better to encourage better practices by making them commercially attractive rather than alternative? Good for Jamie; I hope his efforts pay off.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
I believe that having a greater respect for the animals we slaughter for food is going to grow as more and more people are made aware.of what’s involved in the process of putting protein on our plates. There are more ranchers and meat producers talking about and using using humane practices. When the celebrity chefs and restaurateurs make a point of mentioning the meat they use in their cooking and on their menus, it’s clear - to me at least - that we’re seeing the start of a movement. Even MacDonald’s has started using more humane practices.

Do we need to know the name of every animal slaughtered? I think not, but knowing where the meat comes from and how the animals were treated throughout their lives is something that can benefit us all - the animals, the ranchers and producers, the chefs, and the ultimate consumer.

Anyway, I for one want to know where my food comes from and how it was grown or raised. What Oliver did may have been over the top, but sometimes people need some drama and graphic description to open their eyes and minds to new ideas.

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
I don't think putting price before quality is so much of a trend as just the way most people buy their food, in part because they are ignorant about what they're buying. I'm seeing more and more shoppers looking carefully at what they buy, reading labels, and demanding better quality food. Of course, where I live plays an important part in what I see.

post #8 of 11
I was just discussing this article with my husband. I thought he had an intersting perspective. He thinks most of us are not food specialists and it is therefore unreasonable to expect everyone to question everything we put in our mouths. We are all on information overload; we have no choice but to trust the system to a large degree. If the FDA says it's safe, we can't reinvent the wheel everytime we buy dinner for our families so we buy what is widely available, and of course, we want to get the most bang for our buck; nothing wrong with that.

Fair enough. Chefs have the luxury of indulging in this kind of thinking. The rest of us may not.

I do think that raising awareness gives people power and choice through information. And raising awareness, raises the bar for everyone.

Another point we tend to forget is that 'cheap and plentiful' has made us more healthy as a society. Yes we went overboard and we certainly eat too much protein etc., but few of us suffer from protein deficiency and malnutrition that we had when apples had worms and chickens were killed at home.

I am an increasingly big believer that we need to start thinking of food a little less in the nutritional sense and a little more in the cultural sense. But that's a whole other topic...
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
And what is the most bang for the buck? Huge plates of cheap, antibiotic and hormone laden meat, produce saurated with sometimes dangerous pesticides, lots of foof but little nutritio, food that is produced in such a way that the long-term socio-economic problems are swept under the rug?

Raising awareness of the various aspects of our food is going to slowly improve society. How much of our healthier society comes from medical advances? Might eating better quality food as opposed to more cheap food also contribute to a healthier society?

Your sentiments about how we think of our food echos some articles written by Michal Pollan. He's followed the food he's eaten from source to plate, and has commented on how so doing has changed the way he looks at food.

In his artice titled "Six Rules for Eating Wisely," he writes:
Spend more, eat less. Americans are as addicted to cheap food as we are to cheap oil. We spend only 9.7% of our income on food, a smaller share than any other nation. Is it a coincidence we spend a larger percentage than any other on health care (16%)? All this "cheap food" is making us fat and sick. It's also bad for the health of the environment. The higher the quality of the food you eat, the more nutritious it is and the less of it you'll need to feel satisfied.


How you eat is as important as what you eat. Americans are fixated on nutrients, good and bad, while the French and Italians focus on the whole eating experience.

post #10 of 11
I was just discussing this last night with a girlfriend who was reading "French Women Don't Get Fat" or something to that effect. I only glanced through the book, didn't read it so my opinions may be a little weak. In essence, I think it missed one crucial element: culture.

In America, I need less carbs, more protein. I need more fibre, more white meat, less saturated fat. The same "I" is so self absorbed in my own nutrition/regimen/diet and so put in the spotlight by Atkins, SOuth Beach and Oprah, that I will sit in front of the TV and eat a whole bag of chips by myself and no one can judge me. When I go see my family in Europe, I never even remotely feel the urge to binge or have a really unbalanced meal. We eat together, at regular times, in pleasant company, there are certain things that are part of every day life that we don't think about but aren't part of the culture in America. Having a meal over a kitchen sink before soccer practice is - ironically - a huge culprit in the bad eating habits we see more and more. Our routines are build around these habits and it's a real uphill battle for those of us who are aware of it and try to fight it...
post #11 of 11
Colonel David Grossman discusses aspects of this in his excellent book "On Killing".

His particular slant involves the issue that the average person is divorced from death and doesn't really comprehend it.

Meat comes in a plastic wrapped styrofoam plate. There is no association with the animal it comes from; how it lived and died or what's involved with prepping it for eating.

Similarly, most of the people die in the hospital, not at home. People aren't really acquainted with death directly. It's disassociated. The body is handled by non-family in preparation for the funeral. The family used to do that and viewings were held in the home.

Very interesting book if not directly on topic here.

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Food & Cooking › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › Looking Dinner in the Eye