My friend Carol—last FL at Home post!—Blymire sent a link to my presentation, below, at the Chautauqua Institute this past August (which I hadn't realized was available), a mini food rant of sorts, I guess you'd call it.  I urge you also to listen to Dan Barber's excellent story, following my words, about his trip to the foie gras farmer who does not practice gavage.  We both talk for 20 minutes, followed by brief Q&A.  (Other speakers during the week included author Marion Nestle and Greg Page, CEO of agribusiness giant, Cargill, Inc.)

Also this weekend, don't miss the Iron Chef Rematch, Symon vs Cosentino, on which I was lucky enough to judge.  Sunday, October 26 at 9 pm eastern. Clever viewers may guess the mystery ingredient—kudos to the food network, the production company triage, and of course The Chairman, for the choice.

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56 Wonderful responses to “More screen time: Chautauqua addresses on food an Iron Chef rematch”

  • ntsc

    I’ll be recording both the Iron Chef and the other show you mentioned below.

    Thanks for mentioning this.

    Could you from time to time post something from one of your books as you were doing for a time with elements? I for one would love a chance to discuss charcuterie with you and others who are trying to practice this craft.

    If Making of a Chef had been out 30+ years ago when I got fired from my first job I would probably have headed to CIA instead of The Illinois Institute of Technology. Having just been ‘retired’ from my third, last day of pay is Nov. 1, I know my feet and back can’t take standing that long.

  • casacaudill

    With a personal tie to the Cleveland area and a member of Cosentino’s Boccalone salumi club, I’m definitely looking forward to this episode.

  • Bob delGrosso

    Just watched the video of you at Chautauqua, and came away jonesing that you live a very long time because you will be one very f—king cool old man.

    Props brother.

  • JBL

    Despite Chef Barber’s misanthropic idealism I agree that the most ecological and ethical choice is also the most delicious, but it is also the most expensive. And while we may not have “an inalienable right to protein” many of us most certainly do not have the luxury of being self-righteous about our food origins, owning multiple successful businesses (restaurants in his case), or befriending Spanish foie gras farmers either. How is making food more expensive (albeit much tastier) going to help feed the hungry? Just curious.

  • Skawt

    Ruhlman:

    Er, I really don’t think Mark Dacascos picked out the secret ingredient. On the other hand, I do like the fact that they now use kung fu movie sound effects when he turns his head and makes gestures, and the way he’s totally hamming it up now.

  • luis

    Well, it is very very interesting and significant the discussions that took place at chautauqua with Michael and Dan Barber.
    As Dan said farming correctly and using the land as opposed to petrochemicals will make increased economic sense in the future. I believe that as well. It’s also important that we eat a little less red meat and dairy fats. (sat fats). So the way to consume less of these products is to maximize the pleasure we derive from consuming them in the first place. Better food and food preparation and cooking skills goes a long ways to achieving that. I can do this, no problem. Quality over quantity is king. Not always possible but certainly the desirable choice.

  • Bob delGrosso

    JBL

    I think the argument for making food more expensive in the hope that there will be more food for the hungry is pretty shakey no matter which way you look at it as it assumes that poor people are somehow going to have more money to pay for food.

    Honestly, I think that the biggest reason for poor nutrition is not lack of access to good food, but a lack of money and the access to high quality education and housing and information that money provides. And the reason there is not enough money among the underclasses is that our lovely global economic system is set up so that wealth trickles up not down.

    Moreover, super fresh food like the kind used by the the Dan Barbers and the Kellers of this world will be available cheaply and on a massive scale unless it is grown much closer to where people actually live -And with over 80% of the population of the US living in cities and increasingly urbanized suburbs that seems like an impossible task.

  • Tags


    The Ruhlman/Barber presentations were brilliant, but are incomplete without the Marion Nestle talk.

    She breaks down food issues so concisely, she’s like a surgeon who can simultaneously infuse the area of an operation with the exact nutrients required for speedy healing.

  • Michael Franco

    Michael,

    It is nice to relive that beautiful summer day in Chautauqua, and to listen once again to the inspirational words of you and Dan Barber. It was my pleasure to meet you later that day at the book signing. Thank you for being so gracious and for signing my books.

  • JBL

    Mr. delGrosso, Am I to understand, given your second paragraph, that poor people are too stupid and ill-informed (and obviously too broke)to make better nutritional assessments and that somehow the global economy is to blame?

  • Pablo Escolar

    @JBL:

    Not sure how it can be argued that if you have less money, you are going to have fewer opportunities at an education. And if you are less likely to have a good education, you are more likely to make ill-informed decisions. Of course, it’s a generalization. But I didn’t see anyone call anyone else stupid.

    I really wish Barber expanded on the inalienable right to protein.

  • JBL

    Mr. Escobar,
    You are correct, not stupid per se, just ill-informed (or ignorant or unlearned, or you say tomato I say tomato). But we don’t need a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree to hear about saturated fats, high cholesterol, high calories, evil carbs, artery-clogging fats, etc…we just need a television.

  • JBL

    And Mr. Escobar,
    I will argue that one indeed CAN get educated in this country if they’re broke; in the form of grants, loans, scholarships, etc..I speak from experience! Unless of course you happen to be a white male/female which opens up a different can of worms.

  • Pablo Escolar

    JBL:

    I was pretty careful to avoid saying that one couldn’t get educated. Lots of people do. I said fewer opportunities :). Strong disagree that TV teaches you anything about nutrition, or how to eat healthy. If anything, it is a continuous swirl of contradictory messages.

  • JBL

    Pablo Escolar,

    Point taken with respect to your egg shell walk; and if you think TV is a “continuous swirl of contradictory messages” try college! (kidding…sorta’)

    While it is debatable that even the “news” objectively informs (teaches anything), free information is available, via various media, for anyone who cares or chooses it to actively pursue.

  • bob mcgee

    Offals?….really?
    I love both these guys but that’s about as creative a secret ingredient as ground pork. We all know these two chefs are hecka brilliant with guts…
    Oh wait it’s halloween, I get it

  • Kate in the NW

    What happens to all the high-quality offal that doesn’t get used for high-end nose-to-tail?

    For that matter, what happens to the low-quality offal? (Do I want to know???)

    There has to be a lot of guts left over when the steaks and breasts and chops are gone.

  • kanani

    Enjoyed the talks, thanks for sharing them.

    I caught Iron Chef while folding laundry. I grew up eating tripe, liver etc., but as soon as I left home and didn’t have to –I quit. Seeing the way they cook it is intriguing enough to order it should I get up to the Bay Area. Of course, my favorite part was watching you disagree with Knowlton. It’d be even more fun to see him as a victim on “What Not To Wear,” to let Stacey and Clinton tackle his Berkleyesque hair and scruffy snob writer attire.

  • michael regan

    I enjoyed your presentation. My wife and I have been visiting the Shaker farmer’s market—good eats

  • Mike

    Michael – I watched the Iron Chef last night. What an interesting episode. Although I have not ever eaten most what was being cooked, I found the approach facinating. I kept watching it, saying to myself “Is that how you really cook this stuff?”. Also, that judge from Bon Appetite drives me crazy. I can’t figure out what he is talking about. It is almost like he is speaking to hear his own voice. Next time, could you slap him down a little.

    Love this blog. Keep it up.

  • nondiregol

    Michael,

    I really enjoyed last night’s Iron Chef. I happen to like offal (I spent a lot of time in Rome).

    But I especially enjoyed you playing whack-a-mole with Knowlton. “Why do you keep saying ‘timid’?”

    Clearly we all hate Knowlton. I appreciated your wry comments. I’ll watch again when it repeats. Anytime he’s a judge on Chef I want to see you at the other side of the table to smack him down.

  • lisaiscooking

    Ah, that Knowlton. What’s with his consternated-looking, little repeated rabbit bites technique of tasting food? Too bad Steingarten wasn’t there to add to the banter.

    And, no, food writing and focusing on our food in general are not frivolous activities! Keep up the great work.

  • Pavlov

    Thanks for the reminder Michael I missed it the first time around, great show and thanks for giving the ole jaded “non-timid” one the what for. Next time you are on a panel with Knowlton, while he is talking go down and flick your finger into the middle of his forehead as hard as you can. After doing so, say sorry I must have slipped…walk back to your seat and enjoy the food. I’m sure everyone in the studio will have your back.

  • JBL

    Can someone please explain how Knowlton got his gig at Bon Appetit? According to his Wikipedia entry the only qualification he had was “worked in the industry”. Huh?! WTF?!

  • Ray

    I have to say, Ruhlman tamed his hair very well for this battle. Bourdain can’t slag him this time but Knowlton still has those too short to be a hippie or metalhead but too long to be respectable straight tresses of his. 😉

  • jodycakes

    Excellent talk…I especially enjoyed Barber’s explanation of a natural foie gras…I’ve been fending off my co-workers for a week after having been somewhere that had a foie gras milkshake…I know, ridiculous, but delicious.
    Also, you’re explanation of the journey of Chef Keller and his “hollandaise” technique was such a lovely tribute and testimony to his quality. Great speech.

    Thanks

  • Shelley

    I finally got the chance to watch the Chautauqua video, and surprised myself that I stayed riveted for the full 1+ hour. Nice work to you and Barber! Thanks for posting it.

    As for last night’s ICA, I couldn’t help noticing that Alton Brown has abandoned the spiky look and gone for the sleek Ruhlman coif instead. ;]

  • rockandroller

    An admirable attempt at getting along with Breck Boy Knowlton but he does get under one’s skin, doesn’t he? He needs a smack.

    Despite trying hard to keep an open mind, I found this one of the grossest Iron Chefs I’ve ever watched. I actually had to pause it and leave the room for a few minutes to collect myself. It’s just not my type of cuisine. Still, it was interesting seeing the different preparations.

  • Bob delGrosso

    JBL

    It’s axiomatic that lack of access to money, results in a reduction of access to high quality education or, more to the point, the didactic experiences that enhance critical thinking skills and that help people make wiser eating and other life-style choices.

    Also, being poor kind of limits what one can afford to eat to what they can afford.

    How you read that I was suggesting that the poor are too stupid to make wise choices is not at all clear to me. I’m pretty sure that IQ scores follow a more or less normal distribution throughout the global population. Of course, the same thing cannot be said of money spent on education.

    As for the global economy being to blame for limiting the choices of the poor, well, I’m not willing to go so far as to suggest that an abstract concept can cause anyone to do anything. However, I am sure that the global economic system is not the result of a unanimous decision by a myriad of businessmen and government officials that the end product should be the intellectual, physical and monetary enrichment of the poor.

  • Nathalie

    I love the video! So nice to hear other voices join Mr. Pollan’s.

    That said, feel the need to ask a bit about cost vrs. organic. Is it really that cost prohibitive to buy organic product, for a restaurant, I mean?

    As it is, cooks make close to minimum wage, where is all the money going?

    Why must we prep this horrible product, day after day? Let alone serve it, at a mark-up. Whose mark-up?

    Somethin’ gotta give.

  • JBL

    Mr. delGrosso,

    “It’s axiomatic that lack of access to money, results in a reduction of access to high quality education…”

    We just have to agree to disagree with respect to this point. Where you see axioms I see non-sequiturs; in fact, I’ve already provided a counterexample.

    “Also, being poor kind of limits what one can afford to eat to what they can afford. ”

    That’s also true for the non-poor (credit not withstanding).

    Pertaining to your statement regarding the IQ of the entire world’s population I hasten to say: “I don’t know”.

    I also do not think that the global economic system is the result of any unanimous decision period (wacko conspiracy theories not withstanding).

  • luis

    I am glad I missed ICA last Sunday. Early voting did me in… 4hrs to cast a vote with the fam.. Met lots of nice people in line.

    Cosentino is such a stuborn guy. He is willing to appear in front of FN’s peeps and gross them out with his offal fixation. Why doesn’t he just fall on his chef’s knife already. Get it over with his career and be done with it.

    As to how folks eat or not. You need to understand that food and clothes are most folks luxury. They will spend a very good portion of their income to eat well. This is not to say they will eat out in fancy restaurants or anything like that. But folks that enjoy food will go out and buy it and cook it. Organic even. Cooking is a very individual choice. It’s more skill dependent that it is depeding on anything else money included. And you cook to enjoy the food and be healthy and feel better for what you eat. Folks that don’t cook simply don’t care what they eat. Is that simple.

  • derek

    Okay, how is heart considered “offal”? It’s a muscle! Muscles are meat!

  • Kate in the NW

    Luis –

    You said “Folks that don’t cook simply don’t care what they eat. Is that simple.”

    I don’t mean to flame you at all, and I often enjoy the points you bring up, even if I don’t always understand them. But I think that the statement you made (above) is dismissive in a really horrible way, and we’d better hope it’s not true, or we’re all in some serious doo-doo. Practically nothing is ever simple.

    There are lots of reasons why people don’t cook, or can’t cook. I’d be willing to bet that most people DO care what they eat, even if that doesn’t always get expressed in the “free” market. You may not agree with HOW they care, or with the choices they make, but let’s assume they do care. Then there is a future for food, for farmland, and for chefs!

    A few examples of good reasons why people might not cook (but still care):
    – lack of access to a decent kitchen
    – lack of access to appealing ingredients
    – lack of confidence in the kitchen
    – being 2 or 3 generations removed from anyone who knows how to cook
    – having to work 3 jobs to stay alive (lack of time and/or energy)
    – bad health (for instance: we’re gonna’ be doing take-out at my house for the next few days because I just threw my back out at the barn this morning)

    Plus, not everyone cooks for good health. I cook healthy food day-to-day, but when I get really jazzed about being inthe kitchen (enough to spend all day preparing something special), it’s seldom healthy – it’s indulgent and outrageous. It usually involves red meat, butter, and cream. There is good, runny, super-fatty cheese served beforehand, and way too much red wine with the meal. Often there is some form of chocolate served afterward. THAT’s what motivates me to cook. But cooking that stuff also makes me better at grilled fish and fresh veggies.

    There are lots of reasons to get into the kitchen, and lots of reasons to stay out of it. I am uncomfortable with judging people’s motivations in a way that alienates them from learning the process. I would like to see cooking broadcast as something accessible, enjoyable, and productive, even (maybe ESPECIALLY) for average people.

  • Kate in the NW

    Yeah – so, as I said above – my back is out, and since I can’t do much of anything else, I watched the whole hour+ of the Chautauqua thing. It was wonderful – thank you for posting it! Sorry for the long comments, but I’M BORED!

    MR, you mentioned an affinity for metaphor. I couldn’t help finding it, in all it’s dark humor and admonitory poetic (in)justice, in the juxtaposition of the two speeches. First I heard – and felt – your beautifully elegiac and plaintive call to awareness (I believe I have to call you the Right Hon. Rev. Ruhlman from now on). Then Chef Barber’s enormously entertaining “rant” (man – he’s definitely the right guy to create that culinary narrative he advocates) about the “natural” foie gras.

    As I followed his words to rural Spain, I couldn’t help drawing uncomfortable parallels between the fate of the noble goose and our own. As I stretched the allegory (as I am apt to do), it still fit.

    Perhaps it’s all the mention of Soylent Green around here lately, but I couldn’t help thinking that WE’re the foie gras in this country. We’re doing the same thing to ourselves that’s been done to the geese.

    Our culture has chosen auto-lavage. We stuff ourselves with corn (directly through additives, or through several steps in the food chain/factory meat). In the process, we have become physically ill (requiring more antibiotics to treat increasingly resistant bacteria) and bland. We are even building a giant fence to keep ourselves contained and keep others out of our pen. We’re burying ourselves in our own waste. We consume far more calories and resources than we yield to others. And, like the geese, we are no longer the ones in control of what (or how much) we eat – it is in then hands of the Pharohs of Government and Industry, who do what? Feed us more corn. Unlike the factory geese, no tube is required. We eat ourselves to death.

    We have turned our beautiful land into a giant factory farm, and we are the unhealthy, unhappy, sub-standard product.

    I just hope we can turn it around.

  • Rhonda

    Kate in the NW:

    Love your new phrase! I am going to steal it, tweak it, and refer to it as “Media-Induced Autogavage”. Hope your back heals quickly.

  • Kate in the NW

    Thanks Rhonda – and now I see my typo. To clarify:
    “auto-Lavage” (handwashing) is GOOD….
    “auto-Gavage” (eating one’s self into cirrhosis) is BAD…
    Maybe those pain pills are kicking in a bit too strong… ;-P

  • MadFud

    Being second generation off the farm, what you both said in this forum resonated so much with me. We USED to eat/cook/live like this – I was taught to cook a lot of it and we took pride in the work and the outcome at our family table.

    Then, we were told that the food of our pasts were bad & barbaric – unhealthy and uncouth.

    And as many lies become untold over time, it is so wonderful to hear discussions like these so we can return our attention back to the true stewardship of our food.

    Thank you for posting this Chautauqua event, it made my day! Would love to see more!!

  • Rhonda

    MadFud:

    You are “second generation off the farm”. What made you/your family leave farming? What did you farm? What were the economic realities of farming? Where did your family farm? As you may have surmised, we all love food and the first link to food is the farmer. You have MUCH to teach us.

  • MadFud

    Rhonda:

    I grew up in the Red River Valley of North Dakota where grain, potato & sugar beets are still the main crops that blanket the patchwork landscape.

    Leaving the farm was in large part due to my grandparents wanting their kids to have solid education and a more prosperous future. Farming was hard work and after the great depression and WW-II, the want for different lives was deeply sought after — so, they moved from their farming roots and built lives in town.

    My grandfather was a grocer for many, many years so I also gained the legacy of my father’s family working that small corner store. Their stories are now my stories about rural food culture and how the snowball effect of “efficiency” has taken our relationship with food in a very different, almost apocalyptic direction.

    One evening making dinner, my son asked me where chickens came from. Almost concerned where this discussion was going, I asked him where HE thought they came from. His response? “The store, silly…”

    Indeed, we have some work ahead of us but with blogs like Michael’s and so many others – good honest food will never be forgotten, just rediscovered.

  • Rhonda

    Thank you, so much, MacFud.

    Like I said before, you have MUCH to teach us! Yes, we have a LOT of work to do.

  • Conway Yen

    JBL,

    Not to dismiss anything that has been discussed already (about education, socio-economic status, etc.), but this response is about your original post, which asked “How is making food more expensive (albeit much tastier) going to help feed the hungry?”

    The point of all this is NOT to make food more expensive. Rather, it is about becoming conscious of where our food comes from and understanding what it does to our body, what it does to our environment, and how our environment impacts us in turn. It’s a cycle. It’s about appreciation of that food. Only then can we hope to affect and justify [massive] change. Hopefully, once we better understand food in and of itself, we can not only make food healthier, but stop wasting so much of it so that the poor and hungry can have something to eat as well.

    Initially, you’re right. Locally growned, “natural” foods WILL be more expensive than conventionally grown produce and factory-farmed meat, but there is a massive ecological cost to those methods that is difficult to quantify, yet it is catching up to us today in the form of polluted air and waters, obesity, and sickness and disease from food-borne illnesses. Salmonella and E. Coli occur today in far more resilient forms, and are also present in greater quantities of our food. Thousands upon thousands of people get sick every year from contaminated batches of meat and even vegetables (spinach salad, anyone?).

    The alternative (one of the alternatives, anyway) is to buy locally. Not only does this help local farmers and local economies, but because small scale farms are better able to control quality and the conditions under which their animals and plants grow, the potential for sickness and disease is greatly diminished. The shorter the distance that food has to travel from farm to plate, the less time there is for food to spoil. Additionally, there are fewer hands involved in the exchange of raw foods, which may result in less of a chance for cross-contamination as a result of long-distance shipping. Finally, if the food DOES happen to be contaminated, the pathogen(s) has less time to reproduce to significantly harmful levels (bacteria need time to multiply) AND the contamination should be limited to a relatively small quantity of food produced in a specific region, unlike the massive recalls of millions of pounds of hamburgers that have occurred over the past few years.

    Thus, a better question might be, “How much money is spent on medical care as a result of food-borne illnesses caused by commercially grown food?” Or, perhaps, “How much money is lost through a lack of productivity as a result of people being sick from these food-borne illnesses?” If we knew the answer to those questions, the answer should be clearer.

    My personal answer to this problem is a combination of Michael Pollan’s first three sentences in “In Defense of Food,” and of one of Chef Barber’s responses during the Q&A session, “Vote with [my] forks.”
    1) I will eat food: not that expensive, unsatisfying, processed crap that harms both my body and the environment, AND benefits big companies that thrive off of carelessly grown produce and livestock.
    2) I will eat mostly plants: Meat’s more expensive and I don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables anyway. It’s healthier to boot. Plus, if everyone eats less meat, there’s more of it to go around. A part of the law of supply and demand is that, with a given supply of something (we’ll use meat as an example), decreases in demand result in a concomitant decrease in cost. Since meat is highly perishable, the meat will need to be sold quickly, even if it is at a lower cost. This example (admittedly, none of what I’ve said) isn’t foolproof, I know, but it is a suggestion. I am not claiming to be infallible.
    3) I will not eat too much: See above, but apply that to food as a whole.
    4) I will vote with my fork: (Also, see number 1) I personally would trust a local farmer more with making sure that deer (which, btw, also carry E. Coli! Imagine that!) don’t go prancing all over his or her farm, shitting all over the leafy greens that I eat (spinach salad, anyone?), than a factory farm of epic proportions which may not be able to do this — may not even care– in an effective way at all. If I have a significantly more expensive cut of locally raised meat, it will probably be tastier and healthier, and I will be damn sure to eat all of it, and probably also to stretch it out so that I can keep my food budget down. It’d be too much of a shame to let that beautiful food go to waste otherwise, unlike the tons and tons of food waste produced by restaurants and home kitchens in our throw-away culture.

    To further lower the cost of food, I personally grow some of it. Hell, I just watered my basil plant while reviewing this ridiculously long response. With technology, home gardens of even miniscule scales are possible with little mess or effort. For example, Michael Pollan gave a lecture in New York’s Public Farm 1, where I met Dr. Paul S. Mankiewicz, Ph.D while standing in line for book signings. Paul — and I apologize profusely if I am mistaken or if I am forgetting anyone — is the inventor of Gaia Soil ( http://www.GaiaSoil.com and http://www.GaiaInstituteNY.org ). With Gaia Soil, easy, lightweight, convenient gardens can be created in almost any environment with access to light (it’s nighttime now, but my baby basil seems to be doing just fine photosynthesizing with the ambient light from the various fixtures in the room).

    My point is this: I believe that even with these proposed, dramatic changes, food will not become significantly more expensive to obtain. Additionally, any increased costs in obtaining food may very well be offset by the lower incidence of illness as a result from food poisoning. Health of both body and planet will improve, local farmers and economies will benefit, and the only losers will be big agri-business (which is a GOOD thing). Hopefully, others will think the same way I do in terms of not letting more expensive food go to waste. That way, less food overall is eaten (a potential solution to obesity!), and less food will be wasted or go bad and spoil overall. With decreased demand for more expensive foods (meat), costs will likewise decrease (farmers tend to produce more to break even with production costs, rather than produce less to artificially increase prices for profit), enabling the poor to afford food as well.

    I look forward to your response. Also, sorry for the wordiness. I’m REALLY good at that.

  • Conway Yen

    I forgot to mention the costs of fossil fuels required to grow, fertilize, harvest, refrigerate, and transport the goods, but you knew that already anyway.

  • luis

    Kate in the NW , I agree with most of what you say and I still think that folks that really care about the food they eat take an active part in its preparation or at least in what they eat.

    I also know many folks that eat restaurant food because it acts as an enabler. Millions and millions of them. They do not wish to take responsibility for what they eat.

    But this is all about taking responsibility. Total responsibility. From your plate right down to how the food was raised and harvested and brought to your kitchen.

    But then again America seems to be embracing socialism these days….so I suppose it’s allrigth to eat crap and blame the chef at the restaurant for what it does to you. Sue McDonalds for making you fat…on and on…

  • JBL

    Mr. Yen,
    Firstly I just want to say that you make very good points (and also that you have a wonderful blog); but with all due respect, I really don’t see how they address the question directly. At the risk of verbosity let’s analyze each paragraph and please correct me if I am wrong (my responses are mapped paragraph by paragraph)

    You assert that appreciation of food, its origins, and its effect on our bodies *may* provoke change with a subsequent reduction in waste, of which presumably, the poor and hungry are the benefactors. I can see a plausible benefit and only in a roundabout, long-term fashion; meanwhile people are hungry.

    By your own admission “Locally growned, “natural” foods” are more expensive, and “conventionally grown produce and factory-farmed meat” are ecologically more expensive. While your premises are likely cases; until some type of ecological unit replaces our current currency, they are also irrelevant. For what it’s worth there is absolutely no guarantee that “local” or “natural” (whatever that means) will result in less or no food related illnesses. Until an objective and independent study is conducted what we have is essentially “feel good” rhetorical conjecture. Although intuitively true; without hard data the point is moot.

    Beside the point, refer to above.

    Your next paragraph seems to be about health care and business costs related to food-borne illnesses. Not quite sure how this relates to the hungry American family at this very moment; but, I would love to see numbers.

    Self-imposed rules and personal dictums are fine; just do not impose them on me (or the struggling family or anyone else).

    I wholeheartedly agree with you here. Technology is the answer.

    To a certain extent I agree with you here also; supply and demand curve, etc..but what does that do today or even in the near term?

    [climbs on (postmodern) soapbox]
    I agree that factory farming and “agri-business” (as if the local farmer is NOT in an agri-business but you know what I mean) produce less than stellar products that are probably “bad for you”.

    Where I think I diverge is that I see what can be construed as a bunch of hyperopic elitists demanding food be produced in more expensive and yield limiting ways.

    While I believe it is a well-intended sentiment; I also think that “The road to Hell..”.

    I think that if we could tone down the rhetoric and focus on clearly defined and well understood issues, with hard data to back us up, we could elevate the standard of eating for everyone without sticking it to the current struggling family in the near term.

    Must we sound like the Khmer Rouge just because we prefer the local farmer’s market to the mega marts?

    Do we need to resort to the subconscious condescension of making excuses for those less fortunate?

    The bitter truth that most of us do not like to acknowledge is that petro-fertilizers, DTD’s, etc.. are sustaining human life on Earth for most of the world’s population.

    At least they can live another day in the blissful ignorance that the very substances which help sustain them and their families today, will kill them…eventually

    [/soapbox]

  • Elizabeth Clauser

    One question about the Iron Chef episode – were you playing the Frankenstein?

  • Lisa

    I caught that Iron Chef episode and really enjoyed it and the banter between you and the other judges. What a perfect Halloween show.

  • veron

    just watched this episode. Loved it!loved it even more when you put that annoying knowlton dude in his place. Every time he said the word timid I wanted to throw the remote at the Tv