This morning I had lunch with some family. My cousin, Ryan has been stationed out here with the navy, but he has been commissioned to be a chaplain. So he’s moving back to Ohio to go to school. His parents were in town, so we had lunch at Corvette Diner to catch up. Corvette Diner is a 50’s style diner where the waitresses wear poodle skirts and break out into choreographed song. It’s very kitchy, but very cute and a very fun time! I had a black and white malt, which transported me to days as a kid hopping out of the pool on a hot Florida day. I wasn’t very hungry, so I got the Cobb salad, which was good, but nothing very special. I went straight from there to the restaurant.
Today was the first day that I really got to make something at Pamplemousse. I made gnocchi, and I wasn’t monitored (too) closely. I did some prep work and spent the evening watching the line. It was fun getting to see how it all works, but it was definitely a slow night. I’m slowly getting to know the staff, but I’m so terrible with names that it’s difficult. I also filled out a bracket for the company pool. I have Florida going all the way. I know they probably won’t, but as the Beach Boys say, “Be True to Your School.”
We had a brief discussion about vegetarianism in the kitchen and it got me thinking about the morality of food. There are such a variety of different products that have social and ecological repercussions: foie gras, veal, shark fin, , etc. I am trying to buy organic and local produce and dairy because I think it’s important for my health and promoting a demand for it. I also am trying to buy free range chicken and grass fed beef for the same reason. I know that a lot of people think my concerns are silly or superfluous, but I have to follow my own conscience. Vegetarians are called by their consciences to avoid eating animals and I can respect that. The problem that I have is that it hinders the taste of food so severely, in a way that organic/free range/grass fed products do not. It’s definitely a difficult commitment that I know that I could not make.
There is the issue of morality of the lunches being served in cafeterias around the country. Many students consist on pizza, hamburgers, chicken nuggets, etc. without getting many fresh fruits or vegetables. Alice Waters, my personal hero and owner of the legendary Chez Panisse, has been pushing an agenda called the Edible Schoolyard. This project involves children in the growing of a garden as part of class. Students are also taught to prepare simple meals based on the fresh fruits and veggies grown in the garden. With the rise of diabetes and obesity in this country, how could this not be a priority? So many people do not know how to prepare simple healthy meals, so they resort to fast food or convenience food full of extra sodium, fat, and preservatives. This project would not require a great deal of money:. Ultimately it would save the country millions of dollars in medical bills if it successfully decreased diseases due to poor eating habits. Here’s an interview with Alice.