Sunday, July 5, 2009

Food for Thought

Last Sunday, we saw the documentary Food, Inc. The movie examines America's industrialized food system and its impact on the environment, our health, the economy, workers' rights, and animal mistreatment. In our case, the producers were preaching to the choir; I can honestly say that there was nothing I didn't already know in the film, but I thought they did a great job providing an intro and overview to this important issue. We resolved to take our four nephews, aged 13-17 to see it also, not because we had any prescription for them to change their eating and food buying habits, but more because we wanted them to make informed choices as they become adults.

The boys were interested and a little bit horrified by what they saw (it's hard to come away from the movie without a little bit of shock and disgust: that's what they're shooting for), and each of them has brought it up again since seeing it, which is good-- it show's that they're thinking. Most notably, Treat posted to his blog about it, and Josh, who is staying with us, is full of questions about every meal we serve him. "Is this mayonnaise organic?" he asked yesterday. "Do you know where this chicken came from?"

Josh has spent 3-4 weeks with us every summer since he was 6. We don't have any children of our own, and his visit is our turn at parenting on a small scale. It's also his vacation, so we take him on a trip, sign him up for a camp or class, and plan a lot of fun stuff to do while he's here. One of our summer traditions is making every meal Josh-friendly. He can be kind of a picky eater, and that's not a battle we choose in the time we have with him, so this can involve a considerable change to our pantry and fridge-- chocolate milk, sugared cereals, frozen pizza, hot dogs, and instant mac and cheese all become staples for one month a year. (Don't worry-- he eats vegetables, too.)

This morning we went to the farmer's market, and Josh snacked on watermelon sorbet and browsed the stalls with great interest as we chose free-range pork chops, buffalo sausage, cherries, peaches, blueberries, cucumbers and summer squash. Looks like the summer menus might be changing a bit around here.

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