Monday, January 27, 2014

Commonplace Book: from The Onmivore's Dilemna, Michael Pollan


"The industrialization - and brutalization - of animals in America is a relatively new, evitable, and local phenomenon. No other country raises and slaughters its food quite as intensively or as brutally as we do. No other people in history has lived at quite so great a remove from the animals they eat. Were the walls of our vast meat industry to become transparent, literally or even figuratively, we would not long continue to raise, kill, and eat animals the way we do. Tail docking and sow crates and beak clipping would disappear overnight, and the days of slaughtering four hundred head of cattle an hour would promptly come to an end - for who could stand the sight? Yes, meat would get more expensive. Wed probably eat a lot less of it, too, but maybe when we did eat animals wed eat them with the consciousness, ceremony, and respect they deserve."

"Without such a thing as fast food there would be no need for slow food, and the stories we tell at such meals would lose much of their interest. Food would be...well, what it always was, neither slow nor fast, just food: this particular plant or that particular animal, grown here or there, prepared this way or that. For countless generations eating was something that took place in the steadying context of a family and a culture, where the full consciousness of what was involved did not need to be rehearsed at every meal because it was stored away, like the good silver, in a set of rituals and habits, manners and recipes. I wonder if it isn't because so much of that context has been lost that I felt the need, this one time, to start again from scratch."