Light Reading: The New York Times Food Zeitgeist

Normally, the NYTimes dining section is pretty NY-centric, but today, they pulled out all the stops with a special focus on organic/local/healthy. These are all good buzzwords that often go hand in hand in hand (as long as local doesn’t mean the megafarm down the road, for example), and they certainly capture the country’s culinary mood. Plus, they are written with more than the normal amount of whimsy associated with the section. Maybe you’ve already read them, but here they are, for the record:

• Old Prince Cha-arles had a farm / e-i-e-i-o. And on that farm he made organic jams and crackers / e-i-e-i-o. Seriously. Apparently, HRH has been championing the organic, back-to-nature cause since the 80s, and this has won him the approval of the influential Bay Area organic farming set. In 2006, his farm’s Duchy Originals products grossed $80 million, with profits going to charity. We suppose that farmer king is almost as good as philosopher king. [NYTimes]

• Guess who’s on Rachael Ray tomorrow? Yup, that’s right, it’s Bill Clinton. The two have teamed up in the fight against childhood obesity, somehow combining Ray’s easy and healthy recipes with Clinton’s clout in every aspect of American policymaking. We think Ray is just a hotter and more talented version of Monica Lewinsky. [NYTimes]

• The race is on to discover an ethical way of making foie gras. This is quite relevant to our lives, so if you only read one of the articles, this should be it. Evidently, a Spanish company figured out a way to get geese to engorge their own livers, naturally, through pre-migration grazing, with no tube necessary. Such a method would probably pass muster with animal rights activists, or at least the ones that are okay with eating meat in general. But the claim is being treated like cold fusion - no one will accept the results until they’re independently verified. We will be watching this one. [NYTimes]

• Red, white, or green? You’re not going to get asked that the next time you’re at a liquor store, but organic and biodynamic wines have been gaining prominence in recent years. As people start shying away from anything that’s not environmentally sound, the market for “green” wine has been rapidly expanding. But people won’t buy the stuff if it isn’t good, so many of the major players are not actively advertise their organic and biodynamic status, and instead, selling the bottles simply on their quality. May this become a trend in marketing! [NYTimes]

• Finally, little Alex Witchel, ever the contrarian, pens a paean to Wonder Bread, with which she was obsessed as a child. Yes, do let’s all reminisce about the olden days, that golden age between when everything was organic by default, and when everything was organic by choice. By all means, revisit your fond memories if you got ‘em; we’re just happy that we don’t. [NYTimes]


Light Reading: The New York Times Food Zeitgeist