Welcome to the Ethicurean table

RSS readers, pardon our dust. For ease of updating, this post was moved to an About page, but then we thought we should keep the original for archival purposes.

This blog is dedicated to thinking about food. Not just thinking about how to prepare it, or how it tastes although those things are very important to us but to pondering where and how it was grown and by whom, the distance that it traveled to our plate, and the less obvious effects of
our consuming it.

By occupation we are a writer, an editor, a graphic designer, a couple of techies, and a speech-pathologist-in-training. We live in San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle, and Austin. We work for a public university, a hip magazine, Fortune 500 corporations, and ourselves. None of us are rich, but we all love to eat. We include one active and two ex-vegetarians. Our cooking abilities range from amateur to have-memorized-Julia-Child semipro. Some of us grew up eating fast food, some grew up on farms, and still others had extremely food-conscious mothers who turned us into picky eaters.

The main thing we have in common is that the six of us want to chew the right thing. We want to:

  • Minimize the pesticides that are sprayed on the land and that make their way into not just our bodies but our water supply and the oceans.
  • Ratchet down our dependence on foreign oil 20 percent of U.S. oil usage goes to agriculture as fertilizer and fuel for farming machines, and transport.
  • Hasten the demise of factory farms, in which living creatures are treated like widgets of protein and fat, packed together so tightly they must be de-beaked and their tails snipped.
  • Celebrate cooking, not treat it like a chore from which packaged, processed foods can save us.
  • Patronize farmers markets, where you can ask producers why some of the mushrooms they offer are organic and others not, and what you can make with a rutabaga or green garlic.

We are willing to pay more for our food because we believe that we are what we eat, and what we eat eats, too we are part of a food chain that starts in the soil and returns to the soil. And we don like to dine on petroleum, ammonium nitrate, pesticides, and suffering.

We want to know if eggs from chickens that eat bugs in cow pastures actually make better souffles than those from chickens who eat organic corn in massive sheds, or the eggs from chickens that eat ground-up cattle parts mixed with their GMO corn. Is organic wine as tasty as non-? Why does one Whole Foods in San Francisco carry raw milk but the other doesn't? What is raw milk, anyway, and does it taste weird? What about goat milk? Is soy really that great if it grown in industrial quantities and then heavily processed and extruded? Can you pick dandelion greens from a park and eat them? We'll write about our discoveries here.

We like to eat out, so we'll offer restaurant reviews that attempt to quantify the guilt-to-goodness ratio of their menus. We'll examine which fast-food outlets offer the least objectionable meals in a
pinch. We'll try to interview people like Willie Nelson and Darryl Hannah about their pioneering biodiesel ways. We want to know what behind the pastoral fairytales printed on, say, egg cartons for Judy Family Farm, and we will take field trips to local producers to investigate if there really
happy cows in them thar hills. We'll tell you what we find out.

We want to be as informed as possible about our food purchasing decisions, because we believe that voting with our wallets and our stomachs is an effective way to create change. We hope youl pick up your forks and vote with us.

 

17 Responsesto “Welcome to the Ethicurean table”

  1. sue says:

    just found you....via accidental hedonist.......brilliant ideas .... will be regular reader...trying to eat ethically here in uk........good luck with this venture......good wishes to you all
    thanx
    sue

  2. Jacqueline says:

    Found you researching a post on local eating/100 mile diet etc.. Also write a blog which is mostly focused on gourmet food and related issues. http://leatherdistrictgourmet.blogspot.com and the column on Suite101.

    I like what I've read here so far, always interested in more information, expanding the dialogue.

    Love the S/O/L/E foods acronym - very clever...Think I'll have to cite the new definition (Ethicurean) and the acronym in the article, with attribution, of course.

    Cheers,
    Jacqueline Church
    AKA The Leather District Gourmet

  3. Jacquelinec says:

    I wanted to let you know that I'd referenced you in a recent post. this link should take you to "Locavores and 100 Mile Dieters."

    Not sure if there's a way to indicate to whom we should send specific topical notes? Not spam, don't worry...I'm interested to get lots of folks involved in these food discussions.

    Cheers,
    J

  4. Man of La Muncha says:

    Topical notes and other tips should go to t...@ethicurean.com.

  5. Anne says:

    I've just moved to Seattle and am loving your blog. Thank you! It's exactly what I want to read about. Do you know of any organized groups in the area where I can go to meet some like-minded people? We love to cook and enjoy food - but are totally friendless right now! What's the point of eating alone??

  6. corrie says:

    Just found your site. It certainly meets a need in the food-web community. I'm a food educator and writer (and love to garden, cook, and eat) and will be checking in often and sending my students to the site as well. Cheers!

  7. Marie says:

    What an absolutely great site! I discovered you by accident and yet, I finally found to what philosophical food I belong. An agronomist by profession, a hobby farmer for fun and a food worshipper by family tradition, I was longing for a place which would cover all my interests. Long live to you.

    Marie

  8. Ali B. says:

    Love it. Love it all. Go. Change the world. Best of the blogosphere, right here.

  9. Your site looks very promosong folks! I found a link at endlessbanquet.blogspot.com

    Best to you all,

    the recovering vegetarian

  10. Fully Reformed Vegan says:

    I just found Ethicurian via the Marin Sun Farms website, and am duly impressed! I loved your coverage of the Pollan & Mackey event, which I also attended (with delight / surprise / disappointment / glee / horror etc).

    In reading the “about this blog” page, I’m surprised that your definition of Chewing the Right Thing doesn't include (at least by bullet points) anything about food system effects on people and cultures... other than the health of pesticides on eaters. I have a hunch that you all care about (and just didn't list here) issues like farm-worker rights, family farm viability for the sake of the farming families themselves, equitable food access, the effects of a globalized food system on indiginous cultures, etc.

    Or maybe you've made a conscious decision to focus on the environmental, consumer health, and animal welfare aspects of our food system, leaving the issues above to the individuals and organizations that are already doing a great job of taking them on? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!

    Cheers,
    Elizabeth

  11. DairyQueen says:

    Hi FR Vegan -- you're totally right. That's a glaring omission. Those issues were simply not as much on our radar at first, but they have been for a while now, and we should say so.

    thanks! Enjoy your farm tour at MSF -- I hope you get some eggs out of it.

  12. Jessica Schessler says:

    Hello healthy eaters!!

    I just wanted to share something with you guys. I’m interning for a non-profit, Sustainable Harvest International… they work with farmers in Central America to teach them sustainable, organic farming techniques to stop slash and burn, which helps save the rain forests. (And helps the farmers out economically!) Anyway, we’re being featured on the lids of Stonyfield Yogurt, and you can get a free cup just by voting! You can get other free stuff too… like organic chocolate, yum!

    So.. if you want to learn more…
    http://www.sustainableharvest.org
    Or you can vote here…
    http://www.stonyfield.com/specialOffers/BidWithYourLid/

    It would be much appreciated! Thanks! :D

  13. Annie says:

    Congrats on the blog and what a great balance of passion for food and watchfulness as to the chemical cocktail our food system has become. I am a dietitian/yogini/author who works with people around conscious eating and weight. I'll cover your blog on my blog, and thanks for putting forth a beautiful work.

    Warm Regards,
    Annie Kay MS RD RYT
    Author: Every Bite Is Divine: the balanced approach to enjoying eating, feeling healthy and happy, and getting to a weight that's natural for you

  14. blake says:

    so excited to have found this site! can't wait to dive in and read more.

  15. Becky says:

    Love your website.. been checking it out for awhile now. Thought you might also want to know about the one I put together a year ago. It's an educational database of seasonal foods in the puget sound region.

    http://www.seasonalcornucopia.com

    keep up the great site. I really appreciate it.
    best,
    Becky

  16. Having been involved in agricultural practises on farm for the last thirty years some with the Monsanto group of companies I can certainly embrace your clarity for truth in all the above disciplines...
    Bull

  17. Eve Fox says:

    Love the blog, love the idea!
    Where are you guys located (not in cyberspace...)?

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