Monday, March 24, 2008

missing for a few days

Jesus kept me away.
I sing in a church to make enough money to eat all my good foods, and last week was holy week.

One thing happened yesterday that I thought I would mention: I was running late for work, so I could not cook up some of my greenmarket eggs.  I ran into the deli across from the church to grab a breakfast sandwich.  Bacon and egg on a roll.  A sandwich I have ordered without a thought from delis in every corner of NYC over the years.  This time however I had just read about our most awfully treated industrial game, the Laying Hen.

These formerly proud fowl are in the most nefarious conditions.  Now, we know that stress affects hens, leading to feather pecking, and to the horrid act of rubbing their breasts against their cages until they are a bloody mess.  We also know that these birds cannot even spread their wings.  But we as humans are more concerned with our own problems.  So why shouldn't we eat industry eggs?  Simple:  they taste like nothing.  They are like the shadow of an egg from my parent's childhood.  All that remains is the texture.  The colors are gone, the flavor is gone, the integrity of the yolk and whites, all gone.  Have one egg from a decent farm and you will never want to go back.  Thick, hard shell, deep orange pasty yolk, wonderful rich flavor.  The yolk gets the color from nutrients gained when Hens are pastured.  Remember that?  Hens running around on grasses?  It is certainly a far cry from the tiny cages most of America's Laying hens live out their short, miserable lives in.

But this begs the question:  how can I eat breakfast when I am late for work on a Sunday morning in NYC?  This is something so many of us in NY go through.  We are all busy, and places to eat are everywhere.  In this case, the eggs were weak, the bacon was blah, the roll wasn't even that good, but overall, it was an OK breakfast.  One that I always enjoyed in the past.  This time, with some knowledge inserted into my breakfast, I was more aware of the mediocrity as well as the ethical pitfalls of my meal.  I was filled with a drive (this was not the first time i have felt this) to get out of this system.  

But what does that mean?  Leave the city?  Leave the country?  i know things are better in other places.  Small pockets of the country in which you can provide yourself with all the food you need from local high quality farms.  Or places like France, and several other european countries, where processed and/or downright shitty food is far less prominent.  I don't know the answer.  We still must enjoy the act of eating after all, even if the food is poor.  We accomplish more with our digestion if our hearts and minds are engaged in the act.  I cannot cringe every time I eat something that tastes less then or is ethically unsound.  There would just be too many meals that I could no longer eat.  This is not the best option.  The bottom line is that I must eventually get out of the industry loop.

In the interim however, I am going to have to occasionally suspend my mind during necessary meals out in this intractable city.

Good eggs can be obtained at several NYC Greenmarkets.  Most of them have egg vendors once a week.  You will not find good eggs at the supermarket.  The Happy Hen?  Organic Valley?  Land O Lakes?  whatever.  their Hens live in terrible conditions.  They cannot even peck each other's eyes out, because de-beaking is permitted under most "humane" standards.
Just go the markets, $3/dozen or so, which is about the same as most organic labels.  

Be Well.

No comments: