I’m on vacation and and have been exposed to more television than one would think possible but then there is the time factor (lots of it) and the the guilty pleasure factor (also lots of it). During the usual course of work and life it hardly makes sense to squander precious time sitting in front of the hypnotic eye. But here I am on vacation, and find myself triggered into watching one of the dozens of food based productions so readily available on TV. Back in the protozoan era of television programming, of say, the Galloping Gourmet or The French Chef, with Julia Child, the subject was cooking. Or good food. Or discovering what the French did with food that made it so freaking amazing (spoiler alert: it’s the sauce, cherie). Now, however, it seems that it is a competition about which nasty character can win the prize for the least disgusting dish whichincidentallylookstheprettiest. A show in particular caught my eye because it was all about pork. Pork belly, pork shoulder, pork haunch, bacon. Pig, pig, pig! It made me wonder: what is it about our love affaire with all that is porcine?
So okay, full disclosure, I’m a theoretical vegetarian. This means I mostly don’t eat meat which, by the way, isn’t easy. And I don’t ever want to be that person…you know, the one who will force the entire office to redesign the annual picnic to accommodate their very special diet restrictions because goddess forbid they should just shut the hell up and eat macaroni salad and be grateful to be included. But I digress. Back to the issue of pork. Honestly, I prefer fish but will indulge in duck or lamb if it’s locally sourced and not the product of a factory farm.
DO YOU KNOW HOW YOUR OINKER MET ITS FATE?
I am pro-food. You’ll have to trust me on this. However, and increasingly, I am also pro-sustainability. Which factory farming is not. Just one hog produces 17.5 pounds of poo and pee per day. A theoretical farm of 1,000 theoretical hogs will produce 6 million theoretical pounds of waste per year. Most factory farms have more like 35,000 hogs…and honey, that’s a lot of poop to process. Factory farms keep pig waste in “lagoons” which sounds lovely, unless you live downwind or factor in oceans of antibiotics or gazillions of gallons of growth hormones swimming around in there. Or course, this chemical stew leaks and leeches into the local soil and eventually into the ground water, creating a bio-hazzard so so toxic on so many levels my heart spasms just to ponder it.
As animals go, pigs are clean, social, curious, and work collaboratively to solve problems, which makes them more intellectually advanced than many producers of reality television and some members of congress. I’m not suggesting that we give up our BLT or prosciutto-wrapped melon, I’m just saying that the price we collectively pay for our food should factor in what it takes to bring it to market.
Bon appetit, baby!