About the chickens...Go read Wende's story about our trip; she does a better job of describing the oddity and pathos of the day than I could. This scene was at The Lottery levels of disturbing (didn't Ursula K. LeGuin also write a story in which a harmonious and prosperous society owes it all to a child chained in a cellar?) I was initially confused---surely this might be a variety of chickens that naturally has no feathers and red and irritated asses?
Then I just got pissed. Look, I make no apologies for the fact that I think the trends in current food politics are short-sighted and based on crackpot utopian ideals that are frankly unworkable in the society as it is currently set up. Alice Waters deserves a quick kick in the ass and exile to western Maine; we'll see if she can maintain her ideas in a cold climate with a short growing season. For his last piece in the NY Times, which was frankly rather sexist, Michael Pollan can have 6 months of shopping for a family of 5 at a supermarket in Duluth with a budget of $200 a month. Minnesota or Iowa, your choice.
Food has become just the latest tool to bully people into feeling imperfect, like they are not enough and not doing their best live well and be kind to others and try to get along in the world. No, I am not going to spend $34 on a chicken. I am not going to buy organic when there are actually very few fruits and vegetables for which organic growing practices should be practiced due to the pesticide load (and the term "organic" has a specific meaning that doesn't mean a particular produce wasn't farmed without unnecessary pesticides and using alternate practices, to add to confusion). And locavore--give me a break. From the minute a tribe of humans figured out the other tribe out aways had cooler/better/more food, we've been trading back and forth. I like to eat, and I like to eat well, but I'm cynical about this latest trend that if only we all do it, right now, will transform the world and fix everything and make it a better place.
It's like how SuperC was telling me about how she's been getting shit from the newbie hippie gardeners back in Cleveland. She's a Master Gardener with 30+ years experience. Yet these people who are reading Pollan and Waters and the like act like they know it all and in the meantime are exhausting the soil, spreading disease by not pulling out dead plants and leaving them to "enrich the soil" over the winter, and getting pissy about careful, minimal use of pesticides. Like we didn't invent pesticide to begin with, because it was needed. Because back in the day they idealize, if you didn't have something that killed the bugs before they ate your crop, you got no yield and had no money, no food, and no backup supermarket. You starved. Remember that part of the Little House on the Prairie story?
It's just the hypocrisy of this sustainable, foodie restaurant/farm treating the chickens they boast of on their website poorly that particularly rankles. I mostly go along in the world cognizant of the fact that we are all commodities in overarching system, be it capitalism, religion or what. It's a social lie that we aren't. In a way I don't mind being lied to; it gives me a chance to get riled up on the blog and practice my Nancy Pelosi bitch face in real life. But friends, my face is starting to freeze that way.