In last week's column, I noted that food was something we consume for sustenance but that it could be fun as well. Perhaps this is where Bittman and I disagree because I think the pleasurable and the serious can and should come together at the table and on the pages of a newspaper food section. If we preach to you the ills of drinking too much sugary soda or eating at McDonald's, after a while you'll find even the stock market listings way more entertaining. But if we offer recipes for making healthful drinks – kombucha, kefir, a (not kale, please!) smoothie – or tell you about a vendor at a farmers market who is selling local, sustainably raised alpaca and water buffalo meat (Look for Grant Wallace Farms at the Brookhaven Farmers Market on Saturdays and Grant Park Farmers Market on Sundays.), you just might be piqued enough to check it out. And those outside-the-comfort-zone experiences have the potential to change the way you shop, cook and eat, hopefully for your betterment and that of the food community in which you live.
Many of us are at a point where we question everything about food: What is safe to put in our mouths? Where does such-and-such restaurant source its vegetables, fish, poultry, beef and pork? Not that long ago, few people were asking those questions. Now, I periodically hear folks at the table next to me pepper their server with these same questions. Or I’ll run into other people who, like me, raise chickens in their backyard or are members of a community garden. Often, I learn that, like me, they are doing these activities not just because they are concerned about their health or the environment but also because they are pleasurable. The enjoyable and the serious can intersect.
“Food affects just about everything, and vice versa,” Bittman wrote. Quite so, which is why in next week’s column, I’ll share stories of my food explorations as a newbie in traffic-heavy Atlanta – by bicycle. Spoiler alert: I survived and am still smiling about it. So can you.