are you ethicurean?

what the?
thanks to stickyfingers who brought my attention to an article in this week's Age that has left me pondering a new label... ETHICUREAN

"It's a new word to describe a new kind of eater - a diner whose ethical concerns take priority over epicurean whims. Ethicureans like their food as tasty as everyone else, but they insist it falls into at least some of four categories - sustainable, organic, local and ethical - SOLE food, for short."

Now I definitely spend a substantial amount of time thinking about food. in fact, I'm a food obsessive. And I do spend a lot of time thinking about what food I buy - where it comes from, its quality, what my perceived value of it is, amongst many other considerations. But I am not so sure that when it comes to eating I insist that my food comes from one of these four categories.

If I think a little harder about what I like to eat, and where I eat it, even by whim, then a large part of what I do satisfies these criteria that's the way my ship steers and I suspect nurture and nature have a large part in this.

However once I am able to stride over this introductory paragraph of media sensationalism the article I refer to begins to delve into some of the bigger questions that we should all be asking when it comes to food consumption. In the short article it is, it naturally simplifies some of the issues, but manages to still emphasis the interactive and complex analysis at play, and whilst I do not agree with necessarily everything (the apple example for example) I think this is an excellent introduction to many of the considerations that come into play.

read, moving up the food chain

(the seemingly random photo above is of Jason & Shona from salads direct, from whom I source lettuce and salad mix, and with whom I have great conversations about this sort of thing)


t h e - g o b b l e r said...

G'day Grocer, saw your post & comment on Sticky's blog.
here is a link to the subject you are interseted in

grocer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
grocer said...

oh gobbler, i just find it so confusing.
here i am, an outspoken opinionated cusp of x and y gen with no home to go to and I really don't understand why a label such as eithcurean exists.

I mean, can you imagine what sort of mathematical model would need to be built to determine the ethics of consumption of any particular food in any particular location?

I mean, do I buy Italian whole peeled tomatoes with food miles, or Australian ones canned by SPC (CocaCola) or Edgell, knowing that in the 1990's my distant cousins realised that the price these canneries pay is less than what it costs to sustain an ongoing farming practice?

It's just not that simple/

Duncan | Syrup&Tang said...

Very nicely put, grocer. A while back I read Peter Singer's "The Ethics of What We Eat" and was happy to see a (mostly) quite balanced assessment of the various ethical issues. It's a quagmire through which none can come out clean, though many would think they do.

purple goddess said...

Insightful and gets me thinking... as always.

pg, doin' what she can.

stickyfingers said...

Grocer, the most simple equation boils down to this: make everything you eat from scratch from food that is only sourced locally and where possible, direct from the grower. For the hardcore Ethicureans, that is the path. But we don't have to be fundamentalist in our approach to make a difference.

Slow Food pioneered this as a global movement but it is a radical step to take. Understandably in the regional areas of Europe - where the style of cooking is mostly parochial - this is completely possible as it is the traditional and cultural approach to food. And not an issue when you dine out.

Things are different in Australia, where we have to learn to strike a balance. As it has been said, begin by avoiding the groceries your grandmother's generation would not have had access to in their youth, and support your local economy where possible. I don't think however that you have to give up your enjoyment of the pantry staples that you can't make and are not produced in Australia.

grocer said...

do you think my grandmothers would have recognised a rice paper roll wrapper? I doubt they would even have known of couscous!!!

jokes aside, I think it comes back to processed foods being "evil" but i don't necessarily agree with the "village-like" we kill our own pig that we raised ourselves, because when we talk about metropolitan living, the environmental outfall of that would be pretty ugly, no to mention the social cost of laborious and inefficient practices.