It’s simple. Because we have no real choice.
Every other endeavour we might want to pursue as mankind, or as an individual is meaningless if it’s build upon the smoldering sandcastle of conventional farming.
Everything we want from life, for our children, and further into the future loses all perspective if the world is destroyed while we try to achieve it.
There are no technical solutions, no escape, the only way is taking care, in its broadest sense, and we do not need to go on proving that its so. Everybody throws this, inside.
We know this, and the keeping on, the denying it, and pushing it out of our minds will not take the pain away. It will just drive us crazy. Literally.
The human collective memory has a long reach backward in time we know in some strange ways what has been, and how its been, we do not want to lose our past, and even more our minds need the untainted broad horizon of a possible tomorrow.
In his theories, the Russian-American scientist Maslow defined the Hierarchy of needs, that most people are familiar with now.
he wanted to describe a system of what kept us going, physically and mentally, But d he never himself described the needs as a pyramid. These levels are not actually pyramidal, they are all there the same time, you can paint wonderful picture while being hungry, you can comfort a child while being extremely thirsty, and make friendships when you are exhausted,
Maslow’s theory was that First we have physiologic needs, food, warmth, water, sleep. Then we need safety and sex. When these basic needs are fulfilled we need other less palpable stuff; social belonging, empathy, friendship.
The next level is reched when the first needs are m,et amnd satisfied, self realization, the possibility to grow into what you can be, self esteem, morality, creativity, spontaneity, lack of prejudice and the ability to accept facts.
On the highest level, when other demands and needs are met, are self actualization, the need to use our full potential, to think, to wonder, to take responsibilities, this is where we are able to reach out.
But this is also where we need the possibility of a future to keep us going and to make sense of the primary needs.
If there is no future, than eating, loving, sex and friendship makes no sense.
Without a way of acting in our daily lives that in its nature works for a good and bright future, why bother?
If our daily practices do not point both backwards and very much forward there is no reason to go on, caring, loving, replenishing the soil and the soul, then feeling responsible is futile and we go crazy or become depressed.
So there is no question, there is no other way than organic.
Because eating battery chicken eventually will make you go nuts.
I’ll tell you why.
The human mind is made to tolerate extreme stress, we are survivors.
it will take us relatively unharmed through times of loss, injury, and sorrow.
One of the means is displacement, a mechanism is to keep thoughts and ideas at bay, buried deep in our minds, while other more urgent mattes. – like plain survival, -keeps us occupied.
This is what nightmares are made of.
But we can only do this for so long, eventually the thoughts will come back, and we we’ll have to deal with them.
It’s the same thing happening when we know we are not doing the right thing, we displace the shame and discomfort to faraway corners of our mind. But our conscience comes back to haunt us, and this is what happens when we eat battery chicken or all the other sorry approximations to food which most people eat.
We know it’s not right, we do know that its bad for the chickens, we have seen the pictures, the news, we know how the animals suffer, and most of all, we are well aware that as long as someone buys the mistreated animals flesh to eat, it will go on, and on, and on, and that someone is yourself.
It’s not defendable, in any way, we cannot quiet our conscience, its not enough that a lot of other people also eat flesh produced under terrifying circumstances, the only explanation we can comfort ourselves with, approving this worldwide mass torture to other living beings,is price. Saving money, and as saving money is not an excuse for most people to do things they cannot in other ways live with, its useless.
We do go nuts when we keep doing things that we are not supposed to, do.
Quite enough about animals, the rest of the scenario is even scarier, pollution, useless ground water, genetic engineering, energy, poisoned food, contaminated foods, landscape degradation, cultural losses, civilizations and species vanishing, and we do know that we are an active part of the problem, that we approve and consent to the terrible consequences of conventional farming every time we buy conventional food. There is no kidding ourselves, we know its bad, and we ourselves suffer for this.
We can try kid ourselves that all this evil won’t harm us, that its far away, harming someone else, and it sure as hell is, but it harms us too, in more ways that we like to think of, and that’s the problem.
It’s obviously bad for us to eat conventional food.
It does not contain the same variety og nutrients, or the same amounts as in natural foods, it’s downright poisoned, _ and to me-, worst of all, it has no taste, no energy, no power, and it gives no satisfaction.
It does not fill you up in any way but mechanically, you will eat too much trying desperately to get the feeling of fulfillment, which is quite another sensation than just being full.
Our desperate obesity problems in our part of the world is caused by unsatisfactory food, and our bodies just as desperately trying to find fulfillment by eating more, and more and more.
I have eaten organic food my whole life, and of course and can’t tell if any specific ingredient is organic, but I know how it feels cooking and caring for my family with almost excluseively organic foods, and I know how unsatisfactory it is when I have to cook or eat something conventional for more than an occasional meal.
It feels bad, and I cannot picture the way it must feel if it a daily experience.
It would feel, and I’m sure it does, like deliberately mal nourishing my family, depriving them of the joys of eating, tearing away the reason to eat, and have meals at all.
It would drive me crazy, and I’m sure its happening a ll the time.
It’s about the way we think, us sanitized westerners. We are taught to think like scientist, We live in a society ruled by proof, by male virtues, – sorry guys- and it works in mysterious ways, which are certainly not logic, even if the science-logic they do like to think so. Things must be proven, or else its not considered.
The scientific logic is actually more like sufi-locic, I love the famous story of village of blind Sufi meeting an elephant for the first time. They are led to the elephant, and each Sufi tries to determine what an elephant might be like, by examining its parts. The sufi at the tail believes that an elephant is like a snake with at hairy tuft at the end, and terribly bad breath, The Sufi at the front legs decide that an elephant is like a mighty tree, with warm knobby bark, the Sufi at the trunk believes that an elephant is like a trumpet of devastating power, the Sufi at the ears pictures an elephant like a giant thick carpet.
Very much actually, like the way food scientists’ are e having a hard time determining exactly which elements are important to our diet.
Strangely the matters they discover always end up in the market in a form where they are absolutely isolated from the rest of the food.
Their separate virtues sung from the towers of the great cities, and blind followers believing everything they are told,
and here we are, well on our way to one of the greatest threats to good eating, the road to regarding food as medicine…which will in the end totally fuck up our food culture. This idea, the offspring of nutritional thinking, has nothing to do with natural medicine or healthy eating, its all about anxiety, about us being sacred of being too fat, of growing old, of sagging skin, the ever-present fear of cancer, and a futile wish to control every detail of our lives. Its a malady which is only possible in countries which are losing their food culture.
And food culture is what should determine what is on our plates. Not fear.
As Michael Pollan writes, nutritional science if not very advanced, even if the nutritionists try to paint a prettier and more accomplished picture the truth is that nutritional science is where medicine was in the 1600’s.
In other words, we do know a few things, but not enough to put them together.
We do not know the virtues of every single nutrient isolated from one another, but even if we someday will know we cannot picture the whole elephant, we will never understand how it all works, together.
Nutritional science at the present day is putting what we know in the place of wisdom.
It’s very easy, though, a to see and determine what happens if we do not eat properly,
Its easy to prove that malnourishment does to you, or too many additives, og too little, or too much food.
We all know what too much sugar does, or too little vitamin C and this makes nutritionists feel much better. This person has scurvy, or beri beri, if we feed it vitamin c and vitamin Bb1 he will recover.
And so on.
Its much more difficult to determine what good food is, in a scientific manner, and its not solved by taking food out of its context, when the truth is that people eat food, not nutrients…
No one will ever be able to prove this, in scientific terms.
Its too complicated,and too diverse, and we should thank the heavens for this. there are too many factors, and we do not know them all, and a lot of the factors about food, nourishment and meals are not scientifically recognized as influential factors. Scientists have been trying to decode the Mediterranean diet for years, only slowly realizing that there are immeasurable things involved. Time, joy, love, relaxation, culture, togetherness, quality… to mention a few.
Or to put it simply, because the idea of good food is beyond proving, because the are millions of answers, equally right, because its nature is too diverse, too beautiful, too multicultural, to emotional,, its considered not worthy of interest as a whole.
And because it cannot be proved that taste and love and the quality of eating a meal, are important, doctors, scientists and nutritionist deny these very simple matters that are obvious to everybody else.
If you were to ask a man from a remote island what good food is, you would probably hear something like this, good food is the vapours from a bouling pot of food, the expectation, its the hunger, its watching the curves in his wifes back, while shes bending over the fire, its the children playing outside, the water running to his eyes from the appetizing smell of raw onions, the weariness after a days work, the chatting while eating and the feeling of the stomach slowly filling up. The knowledge that tomorrow we will eat again and the children are growing up to catch more fish to fry…
Now this knowledge would be more than enough to convince anybody outside the western countries that good food, wholesome food, and tasty food is very important for living a good life, but not so here. We just keep on looking for the missing link, meanwhile creating series of missing links in our food and in the culture that surrounds it.
Some questions are just too big, or the answers just too obvious, but I will try.
I once heard dr. Greene, an American, but very sensible doctor, specializing in child nutrition talking at the ifoam conference I Modena, about why food is so essential. And why its so essential to our feeling of belonging, He conducted a study of the nutrients in amniotic fluid, the water we all float around in before we are born. We all know that the child is fed through the umbilical cord, where a nutrient from the mother flows into the child. What we are unaware of is that the fluids that supports our body is full of taste and smell, and that these micronutrients can be absorbed in the body through numerous taste and smell receptors in the skin that disappears again before we are born.
The baby not only hears music and voices. light and dark from outside the womb, but it can actually taste the food and the smell it emits, though its skin.
The baby will in time have a natural preference for the foods the mother eats through pregnancy. Hot foods, spices, carrots, garlic, fish, herbs, vegetables, and will be born naturally attuned to the food culture into which it is born. A comforting thought – or maybe not?
and yes, why not just graze? like the Americans, each getting what we want from the fridge, full of foods that somebody else has cooked?
why be so self-righteous and irritating, wasting time on cooking.
After all its only food.
First; A meal is not all about craving, and eating,
Food, and especially the way we cook it, all the traditions that surrounds it, the occasions, festivities, the daily meals, the atmosphere, and the way its presented is not only in our stomachs, it’s in our bones.
The meal is maybe the one great socializing event, in our daily lives, in families, and everywhere else where meals are eaten. The meal is the arena, where we learn how to be part of the tribe we belong to.
The ritual of eating a meal together is the grand introduction to both the rules, and the joys of belonging. maybe only surpassed by play, the arena where we learn to communicate, relax, and enjoy the satisfaction of several of our most basic needs. The meal itself is a ritual, and it must be, it’s a celebration of how we manage to fend off starvation, of thanksgiving, and even if I’m definitely not a religious person I believe it should be the daily opportunity of remembering how infinitely fortunate we are. Children are able to adjust to many tribes, at the same time, they know that the meal at Granma’s is a very different ritual than eating with their friends at school, they know there are many parallel cultures of sharing a meal, are extremely adept
Food is the die – hard glue that keeps expatriates together over millennia, that defines us as a community. Food and meals are our tribal tattoos, and cannot be erased, not even by time.
Food is the most defining factor, it makes us feel at home, belonging, and is more persistent than even religion.
In the 8 century, zoroastric Persians seeking refuge from Muslim persecution,fled for India, and stayed there, And the Parsi community’s food is still Persian, its been influenced of course by Indian cuisine, and has definitely influenced Indian cooking, but its still Parsee, full of butter and cream, dill, saffron, cardamom, and rice.
Norwegian settlers in Minnesota still eat Lutefisk for Christmas, understand it, or not.
End even if you stay in your country of birth, food is defining, and very important. Christmas is different is Jylland and Sjælland, and battles are fought over whether or not there should be cinnamon in the traditional Danish pastry, Brunsviger, dividing it horizontally into cinnamon followers and cinnamon deniers.
So it’s important what we at, and very much also how we eat it.
It’s about the magic of both the family meal, and other meals for that matter.
The abracadabra is a potent spell, injecting social behavior, how to be compassionate, interested, loving, caring… and how to argue in a civilized manner.
The mal is about sharing, and about behavior, and its also – and mostly about love.
Love is a taste, among other things. It’s the sixth taste, and we all know it. It’s the taste of effort, human endeavour, the salt of the earth, the spice of life, Its also the taste of creative power, turning even very simple ingredients into delicious food that will nourish our minds and our bodies.
It’s the stuff that takes the place of breast milk once it’s dried out or we are too old.
I know, because I just can’t cook a good meal for someone I don’t like,, the more I love the people I cook for, the better the food. preparing meals are a ritual, an everyday exercising of magic by any kitchen witch.
Love is easily discernible in the food, and lack of love is just as obvious, Sadly it’s the food of the people who need love the most is often loveless,
The big question here is whether its possible to put love in the spice mixture used for public meals.
I think yes, it’s been seen, and no- as a rule.
Size matters, love, if we accept it as the very important factor in a good, nourishing meal does not flourish in large groups, or large surroundings, it does not survive strict rules easily either,
Love is a great creative force, it makes do with what is possible, what is at hand, make he best f things. We cannot all be married to Jeremy Irons, or eat lobster every day, and still love flourishes everywhere.
It is not possible to make good food on a scale where you are only duplicating, food is a creative process, and if you have no possibility to be creative in the process, its will not be good, as anyone who has ever loved cooking knows,
Cooking s not about duplicating recipes, is about love, and love s – if anything- a creative, process
Love is capable of transforming and gilding a potato into something utterly delicious, or boil it to death, rendering unappetizing stale sludge on the plate.
And if the context is too large or too rigid, as it must be in huge public kitchen, love dies.
Food is best when it’s cooked by people who can actually influence the process, and who knows the people the cook for, and this is possible. The reasons for cooking for large numbers of people are all about money, and its not a good enough reason.
Everybody who knows anything about these matters knows that food is a daily encouragement, it will make you well or sick, it can be the meaning of life.
It does in institutions and hospitals the reason to live for some and a means to get better, or worse.
And in the end just it’s very expensive not to provide really good tasty, nourishing food in the public space. Expensive in all possible senses of the word.
And a good morning to you.