“What is meat?” – Johnathan Safran Foer
This was a great starting point for Foer, and for myself since I am actually clueless about the origins of any of the meat I have consumed in my life. I stopped after reading this question in the beginning of the book. I started to reminisce about all of the questionable dining locations I’ve consumed meat (Taco Bell was the first, oh the shame). I felt quite naive and wronged by the restaurant world that the same question had never popped up in my mind. Truth is, in today’s fast paced world, people rarely stop to ask these questions because patients is a rare trait and everyone wants their food or clothing on-demand. Technology, the outsourcing of jobs (cough cough* Ronald Reagan), and the sheer lack of inquisitiveness on our part has detached us from the processes and people that actually raise cattle or stitch nike clothing. We aren’t asking what the animals are experiencing?
Foer’s natural comfortability with his audience and snide humor mad this book hard to put down. He initially relates to the reader by explaining his struggle with being a vegetarian which I can’t relate too, but I’m sure others could. The story of his historical pansy relationship with dogs grabbed my attention as-well. I though Foer used many different writing techniques to perfect this interesting read; especially the Tyson Food letter. I almost caught myself jumping to pages where he included the small-print animal statistics which made me squint and gag at the same time.
The topic of animal inspection, particularly poultry forced me to give up chicken and all of it’s products for the weekend. I know, a weekend without is nothing, but not when eating eggs is just as routine as taking a shower or brushing your teeth. My parents often refer to me as egg head since I unconsciously slay a dozen and a half a week. I’d rather not guess how many eggs I’ve consumed in the last 10 years. To go along with eggs, my other consistent choice of food has been Chipotle since one hatched a few blocks from my house back when I was a sophomore in high school. All Foer had to do was mention my beloved chica once and I got weary. How could Chipotle, some multi-billion dollar company I’ve trusted so long have a questionable source of meat. Some of my favorite food memories have involved me gobbling down double-wrapped toddler sized burritos after a hard battle at Selby. That was another one of Foer’s great points, the memories we cherish often involve a specific dish or song which reminds us of those great times, so how could you not indulge. Overall I’ll limit my meat consumption even further, and actually start grilling the Chipotle line-cooks about where my meat is coming from.