Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Holiday biodiversity

Wednesday's Food Section day in many newspapers, and today they're chockful of recipes for the United States' annual food feast, Thanksgiving. Worth a look for folks concerned about global matters, and not only because the savoring of succulent treats is a human universal.
Strong in some stories is a a message of socially responsible cooking. Cooks're to choose their holiday bird not just because it's the plumpest, their greens not just because they're the greenest. The challenge, rather, is to buy off the beaten path -- to choose a foodstuff because it's unusual, a strain that Big Food's squeezed off the supermarket shelves. Look then, for "heritage turkeys"; cook, then, with "heritage eggs."
This ought to be more than a marketing gimmick. According to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, 1 out of 5 species that used to thrive in the world's barnyards now is endangered. It's a problem of biodiversity not less significant than the threats in the wild discussed in meetings like that of the International Mechanism of Scientific Expertise on Biodiversity in France this week.
Seems this year the holidays're a time to eat all around the food chain.

1 comment:

Patrick S. O'Donnell said...

I think socially (i.e., ecologically, economically, and politically) responsible cooking during both holidays like Thanksgiving and everyday of the week would be a vegetarian (or vegan) fare of some kind. My wife and I have been vegetarians over 30 years now and I think it's quite simple to swear off meat and fish. We've celebrated vegetarian Thanksgivings with family and friends over much of that time as well and there's never been any complaints, even from the non-vegetarians who've sat with us (of course it may be they're simply polite guests, but they've seen fit to return, so perhaps there's more to it than that). Mind you, we're not the preachy, self-righteous sort, as I find, with many carnivores, that type of vegetarian or vegan (for some inexplicable reason it seems more likely to be the latter) to be a rather insufferable lot. But any thinking person given to periodic bouts of self-reflection and self-examination might seriously consider the various reasons that historically, in our civilization and elsewhere, have been proffered on behalf of a non-carnivorous diet. My reasons happen to be spiritual and ethical, but one could certainly be persuaded by, say, ecological, economic or political arguments as well. Our adult children were given the choice to choose their own diets when they reached the "age of reason," and in both cases they decided to remain vegetarian. Well, should any readers be interested, I do have a helpful collection of books and articles (not all of which endorse vegetarianism) on "animal ethics, rights, and law" that I will send along to anyone requesting it: patrickseamus "at" (use symbol)