Thursday, August 28, 2008

Humane-itarian, Part VI: The 2-Month Mark

Well, it's been quite a ride so far.

For our viewers just tuning in, a brief summary: Two months ago I made a commitment to a new philosophy that I decided to call "Humane-itarianism". By joining this new cult (with a devoted, deluded following of, so far, only one), I solemnly swore to consume only animal products which had passed my stringent test: the animal in question must have been raised in a humane manner and fed an appropriate diet by a farm or company or individual who did their best to preserve the environment in the process of getting those proteins onto my plate. Tall order? You bet.

At this 9 week mark, a few observations and a conclusion or two:

1. It may surprise you just how available humane-itarian meats can be. Most of the fresh meats at Whole Foods fit my bill, and many grocery stores carry organic meats as well.

2. That said, the places that aren't using organic and/or free-range meats may also make you say "Hmmm". I've been to some swanky joints over the past two months and received some pretty disppointing answers when I asked about the origins of their poulet and boef.

3. Humane-itarians really need to plan ahead. A peanut butter sandwich stashed in one's purse can mean the difference between maintaining the status quo and attempting to gnaw off the cushioned armrest of a waiting room chair while muttering about whether naugahyde counts as an animal product.

4. Humane-itarians eat a lot of spinach quesadillas. We've covered this before, I know, but it's my blog and I'll cry if I want to. I now have a very particlar set of criteria for my SpinQ, and could rank roughly 10-15 restaurants based on this one dish alone. For the record, Cafe Brazil does a bang-up job, and Frankie's are actually really damn good.

5. (conclusion) I am satisfied with a good-faith effort. Tell me the beef is organic, and I will take your word for it. And if the chicken was given access to a pasture, that suits me just fine. As yet, I have not reached the point of belaboring how large the opening was in the little plucker's coop, or whether or not he made use of it regularly.

6. (conclusion) Again, regarding good-faith efforts: If I'm cooked for, I will eat. And be grateful for every precious bite of that home-cooked meal. Nothing warms my cockles more than someone going to the trouble of simmering and stirring on my behalf (and putting out an extra mat and sometimes even using napkin rings). In those cases, I'll eat what I'm fed.



Confidential to J.R.: I'll let you know when I decide to worry about whether Bessie's bovine bits were manhandled during milking :)


Margie said...

Sounds like an admirable plan. And thanks for reminding me of the quesadillas at Cafe Brazil!

Robin Brant said...

Yay, Lisa. We were proud to serve you a free-range chicken breast at the lake house. It made me feel more virtuous.

Classy&Sassy said...

You guys are the greatest. That was the sweetest thing ever!

Anonymous said...

You probably already know this, but I think you would love The Omnivore's Delimma. It trully opens your eyes to things. Really how humanitarian can you be? No matter how hard you try?

Classy&Sassy said...

I have read it - see the "Books of the Year" post from this January. It did, indeed, open my eyes! When it comes to this particular "Humane-itarian" experiment, I approach it not with perfection in mind (all or nothing), but rather from the point of view that I will do my best, the majority of the time, and therefore begin the process of making a larger change in my life. That said, it does sometimes feel like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic :)