How and why we eat has been an interesting aside for me since reading Michael Pollan’ The Omnivore’s Dilemma last summer. Always something of a binge reader on food history and related books, I really took advantage of living close to Powell’s to go overboard on the subject. But one prolific food writer I have yet to crack a book of is Tony Bourdain. I’m not sure why – I generally agree with his stand on celebrity chefs, I find his travel show No Reservations to be exceedingly funny and fascinating (and in fact have the New Jersey episode saved for a weekend of fun some time), but the actual reading of his works has simply never happened.
I’m making my way through a backlog of episodes of the show – the DVR caught over a dozen episodes in some marathon while I was in Oregon – and opted to do a little reading on Bourdain while watching him eat his way through Ghana. This quote from a Salon article is interesting, and rather nicely articulates a major concern people have when it comes to Peter Singer, animal rights, speciesism, and food ethics:
It would be nice to think that people know the difference between a crap chicken and a good chicken. If you can afford a good-quality free-range chicken, it’s nice that you have options. A lot of people in the world can’t afford that.
I like the idea that we could live in an agrarian wonderland, where there are heritage animals wandering freely and making delicious farm-fresh eggs, but that ain’t gonna happen; there are too many hungry people in the world.
I love Whole Foods talking about lobster and clam cruelty, when people are being fucked to death, kidnapped, starved, bombed. [The grocery chain recently stopped selling some live shellfish on the grounds that the practice is inhumane.] There is so much cruelty to humans — so much cruelty to animals — in this world. And people are worried about a fucking mollusk. Unbelievable.