made these yesterday. they are more like little cakes than cookies. cordelia runs over to the counter where the plate of them is and reaches her arms up towards them, asking for one.
this book is like a super-long essay, except that it doenst have a due-date. which is nice, it removes the pressure from this seemingly endless project i have taken on. i liked essays so long as i wasnt crunched for time (which i often was). everything aobut it is so confusing. i am stuck trying to work out the truth about the dirty dozen list. people (the people who are in science that is, not hte people who take the list with them in their iphone apps to the grocery store) are not so quick to trust it because the people who made it apparently are not clear on the system they used to do the grading, and i cannot find the fully-published work anywhere, but i am finding a lot of evidence that there was no fully published work. this does not of course mean that they didnt do the work, it just means they didnt write the academic paper afterwards to share with the public. however, this does make you less credible, unfortunately.
another criticism i keep finding is ‘the levels detected are within, and usually at the very low end of, the legal levels of pesticides that you can have on a piece of fruit/veg.’ then people say that this debunks the list because ‘within legal levels’ of chemicals are not dangerous. like the government told us that the low levels of lead in our tap water wasnt dangerous. we got a filter anyway. common sense would tell me that ther eare no safe levels of lead, like there are no safe levels of pesticides. ‘within legal limits’ does not mean ‘will not damage your nervous system over a period of 20 years.’ it only means that somebody set a number at somepoint ad told the rest of the farmers to stick to it. besides, thats the ‘legal limits thats allowed to show up once it reaches the grocery store’ whereas there does not seem to be a legal (or even measurable) limit to ‘how much chemicals washed off the apples when it rained and are now in your groundwater instead.’ also, its a sad truth that hte people who set the legal limits probably dont have all the answers yet or information, simply because not enough time has passed. thats where i keep hitting dead ends – the answers arent there yet. some people have evidence that chemicals are bad for you, others say they are not. everybody is sure that they are correct. i cant even be sure that how i am going to write it all up is going to be correct either. i can only tell you what i know to be true at the time, which may, and has many times before in history, turned out to be actually false later.
this ‘legal limits’ thing has another problem. the people who set the legal limits are greatly influenced/under the control of those people who are the ones doing the spraying. like how the dairy board would like you to think that you need to drink a gallon of milk every day because then your bones wont go frail when you are old. misleading, but if it makes them lots of money then they are all for it. like how the food pyramid is drawn by a team of rather biased people who are again, following the money. nestle went into Africa and told all the mothers that their formula was better than a mothers breast milk. lots of babies got really sick and died when formula powder was mixed with dirty, polluted water. lots of families went further into poverty as they spent all their money on ridiculously expensive formula. nestle is not your friend. and how do you get yourself onto the dairy board? well, probably you are a dairy farmer. probably you have been a dairy farmer for your whole life and play by the right kinds of rules.
another argument that i dont see has any strength – “well, the chemicals cant be so bad, cause the farmers eat their own food too. would they feed those apples to their family if they knew they were bad for them?” while i’ll admit that i dont know for sure but i am probably smart enough to take a guess at this one. two things, im thinking – one, the farmers are very much under the control of higher powers (ahem-monsanto) to spray what they spray and of course they are being told that they are doing a good job and that its not dangerous because thats what the higher powers would like them to do and what they would like them to believe. follow the money. and two, we just dont know yet. we dont know how bad this will be when my grandkids have spent 30 years being exposed to some chemicals we think is safe to use right now cause the cancer hasn’t shown up yet (well, it has, actually,) it took years for people to realize that DDT was probably a bad move. DDT is still lingering around today. we dont know for sure, but theres a heck of a lot of evidence that something is wrong here. listeria in melons. e.coli in spinach. pesticide residues in breastmilk.
there are also chemicals that are making their way into america on imported foods that are banned for american farmers to use because they have actually been found to be dangerous. i have not yet found evidence for the same to be true with canada but im sure it is. we get lots of our produce from the same place that america does. i have to keep my stats all sorted out since i am writing this for GTAers who are not shopping in american foodstores, but we are not really too different in some respects.
‘about 1/4 of organic food that you get in the store has resides of chemicals in it anyway,’ i have read a couple of people arguing. this is their justification for buying conventional apples instead of organic ones – why pay the marked-up price if its not truly organic anyway? ts true – the chemicals are so much a part of our soil, air and water that even organic food can come into contact with it even despite farmers best intentions and efforts, though it will be less than if the apple tree was treated with chemicals directly. however, this does not not mean you should buy conventional apples, you idiots. it means you should be angry about the fact that chemicals are so long-lasting that they are showing up in organic food, and not contribute to it any longer. the reason that organic food is showing traces of chemicals is because you keep buying those conventional apples in the first place.
another problem – mark bittman has written a number of cookbooks, two of them which are cooking bibles in our house. (as a side note i really, really recommend these titles to anybody – ‘how to cook everything’ and ‘how to cook everything vegetarian’. we have both.) flipping through one yesterday i foound the small section about buying organic food or not. he says its a political and personal decision. he prefers to buy local when he can get it, be it organic or not, because local is far more sustainable. he doesnt make a great effort to buy organic when he’s in a grocery store because he isnt convinced that industrial organic is all that much better nor all that much sustainable either – its jsut a new label on the same industrial food system. there are those people who buy avocados, then those people who only buy organic avocados, then those people who dont buy avocados at all. all for their own reasons.
a label with many, many loopholes, im finding. up to 5% of ingredients on organic ‘junk foods’ (its a loose term, but anything that is per-packaged and comes in a nice box with some green writing) can be non-organic. i grabbed a bag of organic corn chips out of our cupboard to check this out. yup. organic cornmeal. then it stopped. canola oil, and some sea salt (i doubt that you can have organic sea salt vrs. non-organic sea salt so the salt doesnt really count) and im sure that the canola oil made up less than 5% of the total ingredients in the chips, so it fits the labeling specifications and you cna sell it as organic. but there you go. (we didnt buy them cause they were organic. we bought them cause they have less than half the salt of every other brand of corn chips we could find.)
i see that this is going to get bigger and bigger and it’ll be so hard to find where to draw the line. i dont want to make this a huge, difficult, ‘eating animals’, ‘food inc.’ sort of project that takes years and goes into great detail and digs up stats that the government tries to hide and talks to people with blurred out faces who may loose their jobs cause you talked to them or breaks into (literally, for foer) poultry farms in the night to see whats really going on. i want to reference those sure, and tell people “to read more about this, go check out this book” but what i had in mind initially is the book that says “yes, theres a market in your neighborhood. you should go check it out, it has cool things and nice people.” with a little bit of the correct information in it to help people make informed decisions. its not my place to tell you that you cant buy the avocados, but i want you to sit and listen and realize what you are contributing to if you choose to buy the avocados, and then i’ll leave the decision up to you.
a lot of what i am finding is comparing grocery store produce to grocery store produce.industrialized, large-scale organic to industrialized, laege-scale non-organic. organic avocado to non-organic avocado. local is a whole other ball game.
the correct information is really, really hard to find. everybody thinks they have it right but the problem is everytihng i can find is conflicting with everything else.