Stats today: 130 seedlings, 12 gallons sap, 1/3 tray of microgreen sprouts, 0 mushrooms (we had technical difficulties and will be starting the mushrooms over this weekend).

I’ve read several books in the past few years.  One was `Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. If you haven’t read it and are interested in finding out the answer to, “What am I eating?”, then you should pick it up.  That’s a sincere question. I, for a while, wanted to live in denial. I knew animals were killed for my meal, I knew my food probably had cancerous spray on it and that a zillion hands touched it on its way over miles and miles to my table. If you don’t think about it – it is easier to swallow.

While in the bookstore a few years ago, I picked up The Omnivore’s Dilemma. I wasn’t looking for it at all, but the title caught my eye. “I have a dilemma? What is it?” The author takes us through several meals – one meal is from industrial farming where corn is the main ingredient. -either fed to the animals, fed to me in the form of corn syrup (which I find it fascinating now there are advertisements about, “What’s wrong with it? Corn syrup is fine in moderation”) or processed into chemicals. This part of the book really caught my attention. Cows don’t normally eat corn as part of their diets. I know when I eat corn, a lot of it doesn’t get processed by my body and becomes waste (sorry, icky, tried to make that as non-icky as possible). I know we had to switch Daisy’s food to “low residue” food because the other food she was eating made her vomit. A lot. Also, what is corn really, but starch/sugar. Nothing there but filler, really and it was the first ingredient in her food.

Pollan takes us through a few other meals – an Organic Meal, but one that is deceiving – big store organic. The organic salad you’re eating is wrapped in plastic, then put in a plastic box and shipped all the way across the country in a refrigerated truck powered by petroleum. Ooh, you’re saving the world!! (My words, not Pollan’s.) I will admit, we do buy these greens at our grocery store, but everything we’re doing, everything we’re documenting, is to enable us to not do that anymore.

The next meal was a local meal – one type of meal that has caught on recently. Eat local! Buy meat and veggies grown from local farmers using sustainable practices. We’ve been trying to do this as much as possible, going to Farmers’ Markets, buying meat from a local grower.

The final meal was one he produced himself – he hunted, gathered, grew, then cooked, baked and chewed.  When I closed the book, I felt a little lost, I guess I was looking for Pollan to spell out the conclusion – give me the, “Here’s what you’re supposed to do.” He didn’t, but that was smart of him because all I could do was think about it all and what it meant to us and how we wanted to live.

I preached the praises of this book for a while, yet, could not lend it to anyone. I was embarrassed. Here’s why.

We were obsessed with learning how to make the perfect whoopie pie at the time. In the first batch, we got the filling right, but not the cake. In the second batch,we tried a new recipe and liked the cake, but not the filling. In the third batch, we still didn’t quite get the cake right (my responsibility), yet the filling was perfect (Keith’s doing.) I have a reputation at my day job for being a good baker. There was no way I was bringing dinner-plate size whoopie pies to the office. So, we ate the failures.

One day I was reading a section of The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Page 299 to be exact, where Pollan was quoting a Canadian historian who has written social histories of American eating, “…that taste is not a true guide to what should be eaten; that one should not eat simply what one enjoys…” It was at this point that Daisy jumped on my lap, startling me so much that I shut the book.  I had been eating a whoopie pie while reading and shut it INSIDE the book.  Now you see why I can’t lend it to anyone – the very large stains on page 299 and page 300.

I laughed for a while at that story. I shared it with others because it was funny. I feel a little bit ok – we made them ourselves. Yes, they had shortening in them, and chocolate isn’t grown locally, but we saw what went into them and made the decision to eat them.

So, am I a hypocrite? Probably, but we’re going into it with eyes open. We may not go completely off the grid and I expect we will still go to the grocery store, and it really isn’t about saving the earth, although that would be nice. It is about doing it ourselves and the feeling that comes with it.

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