Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Good News for Food Karma

Three bits of heartening news I read today:
  • San Francisco is the first city in the nation to outlaw regular plastic bags at large supermarkets. Apparently the petroleum-based ones are difficult to recycle and are taking up all sorts of landfill space, but stores can instead (albeit at a higher cost) use compostable bags made from corn starch (of course, readers of Omnivore's Dilemma will immediately see this as a dastardly conspiracy led by the corn lobby, but i digress), or stick exclusively with paper bags. I'm curious, and hopeful, to see how this turns out.
  • Wolfgang Puck has announced that he will stop serving foie gras, and that his veal and eggs will only come from cage-free animals. It's actually a pretty big deal: according to the article, in addition to Puck's handful of high-end restaurants around the country, he's got "more than 80 Gourmet Express locations and 43 catering venues across the country as well as the licensed food division." The decision to clean up the animal act seems to be mostly business-related, but this, to me, is a good thing: it means that we, as a nation, are making our voice known through our wallets. Yay us.
  • Burger King has announced its own slew of strides towards more humanely treated chicken (and eggs) and pork -- specifically ones that aren't confined in crates and cages, and in the case of chickens, ones for whom the practices surrounding slaughter are more humane. Granted this only affects 2% of their eggs and 10% of their pork for the time being, but nonetheless this is a huge step. As we learned in Fast Food Nation, the fast food industry has a sweeping influence -- over commerce, over government, over the whole country's farming practices. And with Burger King being "the world's second-largest hamburger chain", well, you do the math.
[thanks churl for the photo!]


    We have effectively cut corn syrup out of our lives (yes, that means no commercial ketsup, salad dressings, ice cream, even granola bars!) Good news, indeed.

    BTW: we're moving. But staying in Astoria.

  2. I, also, hate corn and its syrup. But like any bad relationship, its so hard to cut it out of my life completely.

  3. Ok! No corn syrup...a most daunting task. I mean I agree with you that it's a small evil that combats our systems but man it's everywhere. Second, I wouldn't be surprised that Wolfgang is cutting it now that foie gras has been getting so much more press lately for it's cruel process. Even if his motive was not to catch flack I commend him for it.

  4. annie and andy, i've yet to extricate corn syrup from my life, but then again, i have no discipline when it comes to breakups either. i must say, though, i always find it weird when recipes have it as an ingredient -- it doesn't seem like something that belongs in a home. maple syrup makes a delicious substition in my baking (see the pumpkin-pecan pie post from around thanksgiving time for an example).

    and aubrey, i too commend wolfy for the foie gras kibosh, regardless of motives. i understand that business is business, and his step forward is a good one. here's to hoping other food-producing-types will follow in his footsteps.

  5. Random question having to do with neither corn nor syrup: why don't you have adsense on all kinds of yum?

    Random comment having to do with corn and syrup: You could probably make about a billion dollars and buy Annie, Andy, and Aubrey (what's with all the a-holes?) all the corn syrup they could ever want.

  6. Want some corn syrup with your nachos?