• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

A takeout holiday

It just wouldn't be a normal Thanksgiving season without an insufferably pretentious food essay, and Newsweek comes through this year:

Alexandra says she spends hours each day thinking about, shopping for, and preparing food. She is a disciple of Michael Pollan, whose 2006 book The Omnivore's Dilemma made the locavore movement a national phenomenon, and believes that eating organically and locally contributes not only to the health of her family but to the existential happiness of farm animals and farmers—and, indeed, to the survival of the planet. “Michael Pollan is my new hero, next to Jimmy Carter,” she told me. In some neighborhoods, a lawyer who raises chickens in her backyard might be considered eccentric, but we live in Park Slope, Brooklyn, a community that accommodates and celebrates every kind of foodie. Whether you believe in eating for pleasure, for health, for justice, or for some idealized vision of family life, you will find neighbors who reflect your food values. In Park Slope, the contents of a child's lunchbox can be fodder for a 20-minute conversation.

And so the conversation turns to the difficulty of sharing their interpretation of the Pollan doctrine with the uninitiated. When they visit Dave's family in Tennessee, tensions erupt over food choices. One time, Alexandra remembers, she irked her mother-in-law by purchasing a bag of organic apples, even though her mother-in-law had already bought the nonorganic kind at the grocery store. The old apples were perfectly good, her mother-in-law said. Why waste money—and apples?

The Fergusons recall Dave's mother saying something along these lines: “When we come to your place, we don't complain about your food. Why do you complain about ours? It's not like our food is poison.”

For our Thanksgiving celebration, some friends and I picked up some Chinese takeout -- hey, guess that makes us locavores! -- and watched football all day. The Mongolian Beef, Princess Shrimp, vegetable-fried noodles, spring rolls, crab rangoon and hot and sour soup from Yen Ching were excellent contributions to our existential happiness! The only disappointments of the day were Detroit continuing its habit of playing 50 minutes of a 60-minute game and the failure of anybody at Yen Ching to sing "fa ra ra ra ra" for me.


tim zank
Sat, 11/27/2010 - 7:03pm


Bob G.
Mon, 11/29/2010 - 12:41pm

Not seeing any REAL "health" there...just a whole lotta MENTAL w/ Alexandra.
(and bets on how long before she embraces the teachings of MAO?)

I'm just sayin'...

Mon, 11/29/2010 - 11:50pm

I wonder how many of you literary critics actually read "The Omnivore's Dilemma." You'd probably like it. He shot his own pig for dinner. But he cut its taxes first.
My wife and I took his "eat local" advice seriously. We killed and ate our next-door neighbors. A little gamey, but fresh.