I'm currently reading Omnivore's Dilemma, a book about the nature of our eating habits, how food is produced on a large scale (the industrial food complex) and a small scale (sustainable farming), and how we (USA) have developed such a twisted notion of what food is. It is awesome. I can't put it down. I like reading a book that causes a reaction in me. Some of the reactions that have come up while reading are curiosity (wait, what do you mean free range doesn't really mean that chickens run around in grassy yards?), resentment (how effing rediculous is the pharma/agribusiness/policy makers relationship that is once again screwing the people) and inspiration (to support sustainable, local farmers who grow real food.) I highly recommend it and would lend it to you, except that Clare has dibs on it next.
What it is not is a ranting, stomach churning description of a filthy, inhumane Tyson's chicken factory. It is also not a soapbox for going vegetarian or vegan. Skinny Bitch covered that. The Omnivore's Dilemma raises questions and provides informed answers, but is not a doctrine for how to eat.
Inspired by the Omnivore's Dilemma, Food Inc., and people who work hard to make good food, Zach and I have joined our local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). You pay upfront for a share of veggies, which provides the farmer with some security for the season (and keep your fingers crossed that it will be a good season.) Writing a check in February sucks, but it all pays off when you receive a box of veggies each week from June through October, based on what the farmer chooses. We participated in a CSA when we lived in the Bronx and loved the element of surprise (like when a kohlrabi showed up for the first time). It is also a challenge to figure out what to do with some of the veggies (WTF do you do with 16 jalapeno peppers? Make poppers, obviously!) The farm is different than the one that we worked with in the Bronx and I'm looking forward to seeing what shows up. Marthastewart.com will definitely be of help.
While also on the topic of food, I am SUPER EXCITED for the Brooklyn Flea and Hester Street Fair to open. Both awesome street fairs that show off hand crafted, high quality jewelry, clothing, wares and antiques and creative, delicious food. Brooklyn Flea opened this weekend and Hester Street opens May 7. I'm sure the Flea was a mob scene, considering it was beautiful out and everyone is happy to be strolling the streets. I'm going to give it a few weeks and hit it up when my friend Maureen comes to visit in mid April.