As a young girl, I wanted to do something with my life that made a difference, that was important and noble in some way. I’m from a family of missionaries and frugal do-gooders, so as a chef, I have always been racked with guilt, a feeling that maybe feeding rare delicacies to the rich might not qualify. I carried around the following quote for years to help me keep perspective ( “There is no sauce in the world like hunger”).
Trust me, I lost perspective at times. Working your way up the professional food chain requires endless hours of superfluous tasks, turning vegetables into pretty shapes, trussing miniature rabbit racks, witnessing food going to waste. That’s the thing, if you’re good and ambitious, then you push the limits, strive to advance, and that’s where you end up in the gastronomic world. Successful, but almost ridiculous, contemplating that extra layer of flavor or texture to bring an already fancy composition over the top, elaborating foie gras or sweetbreads ten ways. Is that sooo wrong? And how about killing dozens of lobsters a day? That couldn’t be so good for my karma either. Even if I was loving it, I couldn’t help but think about these things.
Ok, so, I didn’t go off to work in soup kitchens or do missionary work in Africa. I came to terms with the relevance of what I do and my place in society. There is no doubt that I have found my calling in fancy pants cooking, and if I try to keep it real, I’ll be Ok, I think . I do believe that all cooks play an important role in the community, especially today. However, there is also no doubt that eating well and treating food as art or a hobby as people in my circles do, is a luxury few can afford.
I figure if we foodies are going to spend so much time thinking and talking about food, the least we can morally do is acknowledge the privelage of it by incorporating some food ethics into the discussion and our daily lives. By bringing abit of smarts to the table, the food only tastes better anyway.
I hate party poopers, but I also hate indifference and hippocracy. Its just not right to be in a position to do something and not, even if its just a little here and there.
If we use our dining out dollar and gossip to promote the right products and people, not only are we assuring a selection of higher quality, healthier and safer food, we are investing in our community, the environment, and the future at the same time. Its a win-win situation. Buying locally and supporting sustainable farming and fishing, as well as choosing organic, eco-friendly and fair trade food only makes sense, be it for freshness and taste or for health reasons, or for the social and environmental impact. And there’s a little less guilt involved knowing we are doing good as we indulge in our foodie activities.