Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bitten by Bittman

Mark Bittman's Food Matters implores us to eat more healthily and more wisely. Reduce the amount of animal protein and by-products in our daily diet, and reduce the damage we inflict on the world with our omniverous consumption.

Great. Guilt for the gut. But I have had a creeping awareness of my own consumption. I used to brag about how cheap the eggs I bought were; then I realized those hens had horrendous living conditions. Now, thanks to Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) I pop for the extra few bucks and buy cage free, never free range. My son has sworn off cattle that is raised inhumanely; the only time he eats the beef I buy is when we buy it at Whole Foods. So now we stumble over the very teeny tiny tip of the culture wars that are fought inside households. My husband has been an Atkins convert for five years now. Not that he's any skinnier at all, he just swears that a high-fat high-protein diet is the way humans were meant to eat. And I, like Bittman, want to eat more grains, legumes, and less animal.

Years ago when we were married I was grateful he wasn't committed to keeping kosher. Now he's exploring smoking his own bacon. And I'm buying whole wheat flour tortillas.

Do any of the rest of you out there have similar dilemmas?


  1. Wait. Why cage free but never free range? I thought free range was good?

  2. Boy, I can I relate to this in our family too.

    I wrote a blog post more than a year ago about the "catalog" family - how we all look like we dress from different catalogs in our family. And we're no more alike when it comes to eating habits.

  3. The four separate menus is driving me nuts.
    Free range: according to Pollan sometimes that means as little as a small opening somewhere in the cage, that few chickens use.
    It's complicated!

  4. Actually, my husband and I face off regularly over the high protein vs. high grains issue, only it's reversed. I prefer a high protein regimen (not necessarily high fat) and he loves legumes and veggies. So we're going to give the Mediterranean style a try.

    But I've always been a mean mommy. I cook, you eat what I cook or you don't eat. While I respect the taste issues of the various members of my family (my daughter was especially picky), I would only go so far to accommodate them. That's the only way the kid learned to eat things that were naturally green.