Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fattoush and fallacies


Inspired by a beautiful photo by Karsten Moran and a short article by David Tanis in the New York Times, I made fattoush the other night. It had been a long, travel-weary day - a southern tramp through the seedy side of Prospect Park, which was truly dilapidated and depressing, and then a walk across to Green-Wood which was very green after rain. We saw a beautifully fat and unafraid groundhog mowing the lawn, there.

Our return journey was spoiled by the sudden realization that our subway had just started the ascent over the Manhattan Bridge. We don't live in Manhattan. Sunday and the MTA. Why do we do it? The F and G were not running. We were on the D, which we thought was an R. Well, it did say R...

When we got to SoHo we rose to find the R near Dean and Deluca, so I popped in for some ground lamb. Dean and DeLuca has no ground lamb. Nor grass fed beef. Which makes me think about the Stanford study that proclaims loudly that organic farming methods deliver produce that is no more nutritious than conventional.

Cue my icy silence. Talk about asking the wrong question.

As time passes it depresses me more, and more profoundly than I had imagined.  I am disappointed in how The New York Times covered it, but especially by the space given to the fatuous and glib op ed written by the moron*, Roger Cohen.

I don't question the vitamins in my organic strawberry versus the conventionally raised one. I don't choose an organic chicken over a factory-raised one because it is nutritionally superior. I choose these things when I can because of how the plants and animals were grown and raised and what synthetic pesticides and drugs and hormones and fertilizers they may or may not be laced with. And where those poisons and drugs and fertilizers came from, how they were manufactured, and by whom.

It's about the big picture.

I hope The Times publishes the other point of view, with its attendant sharp questions, and soon. This study, this article and the dozens it has spawned across the globe sets attitudes right back, like a dullard clock turned in reverse. I can only hope that the heavy guns of a food revolution are as disturbed as I am, and are writing about it as we speak. Barbara Kingsolver, Michael Pollan...Nicholas Kristof has weighed in, albeit gently, and through example.

At best the study was conducted by researchers with doubtful intentions, track records and funding. I hope The New York Times chooses to investigate the ties between Monsanto and Stanford, and ties between the scientists and big tobacco.

We could not catch the R home in SoHo. There was red tape hanging limply across the entrance to the station, on the corner of Broadway and Prince, perhaps the most zoolike intersection in the city when it comes to pedestrian clog. So we found a 6 on Spring Street, and limped home to our own hood.


We never did find lamb. Staubitz and Los Paisanos were closed by the time we got back. So it was beef from Union Market, with allspice and cinnamon and sumac and raw onion on top, formed into flattish köfte. And from the roof - plum tomatoes and peppers and the last cucumber; mint and basil and thyme from the terrace. More sumac. Olive oil, and pita bread.

*Incidentally, about Roger Cohen's op ed. I prefer moron but I could as easily have used airhead, birdbrain, blockhead, bonehead, bubblehead, chowderhead, chucklehead, clodpoll (or clodpole), clot, cluck, clunk, cretin, cuddy (or cuddie), deadhead, dim bulb, dimwit, dip, dodo, dolt, donkey, doofus, dope, dork, dullard, dumbbell, dumbhead, dum-dum, dummkopf, dummy, dunce, dunderhead, fathead, gander, golem, goof, goon, half-wit, hammerhead, hardhead, ignoramus, imbecile, jackass, know-nothing, knucklehead, lamebrain, loggerhead, loon, lump, lunkhead, meathead, mome, idiot, mug, mutt, natural, nimrod, nincompoop, ninny, ninnyhammer, nit, nitwit, noddy, noodle, numskull (or numbskull), oaf, pinhead, prat, ratbag, saphead, schlub (also shlub), schnook, simpleton, stock, stupe, stupid, thickhead, turkey, woodenhead, yahoo, or yo-yo.

With a little help from Merriam-Webster.
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