the first thought…

March 15, 2007

This blog is about food: what we eat; where it comes from; and how we assimilate it into our bodies and lives.  

It is a celebration of the infinite and ingenious ways that human cultures have learned to turn bundles of carbohydrates and protein into nourishment for the body and soul.

But I hope it to also be a discussion on the social and environmental implications of our appetites. 

Food is life. Yet, it seems that we are becoming more and more disconnected from the very things that sustain us. How many people actually know when asparagus is in season, or the best time of year for new potatoes? How many people understand and appreciate the water, energy, resources and labour that went into that bag of oranges, or how that bacon came to be on their plate?  And how many people pause to think about the real price of what they eat in today’s fast(er) food world? 

Intricate knowledge of food and the systems that provide it – whether they be traditional agricultural systems or the industrial food chain – seem to have been eroded from our collective consciousness.

American author and advocate of agrarian values, Wendell Berry, wrote that “eating is an agricultural act”(1). Journalist, Michael Pollan, argues that it is also an ecological act and a political act (2).  I agree. And it is these three acts of eating – the agricultural, the political, and the ethical – that I would like to explore in this blog.
But I would also like to add a fourth act of eating, perhaps the most important of all: the social act.  It is easy to let our food neuroses – obsessions with calorific counts, chemical composition and ethical dilemmas – obscure the pleasures of good food shared from a laden table.  So I hope to also share in this blog some of the joy and satisfaction that food brings us, in all its bounteous glory!  

More than anything, I wish to generate discussion – so please join in and share your opinions and comments.  Questioning our food doesn’t decrease its value. The pleasures of eating, as Michael Pollan says, are deepened by knowing: “To eat with a fuller consciousness of all that is at stake might sound like a burden, but in practice few things in life can afford quite as much satisfaction.”(2)

(1) Berry, W. 1990. What are People For?, Harper Collins, Canada.
(2) Pollan, M. 2006. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Search for a Perfect Meal in a Fast-food World, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, London.



  1. Hmmm – interesting discussion. Makes me think of the recent ribena fiasco
    A good example of the power of questioning what we eat (and drink).

  2. Oh, it’s so heartening to read that so many people are reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma. What a tour de force.

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