Friday, July 01, 2011

The Ethical Eating Project - Day Five - FAQ

Ok, have some questions that people have emailed/chatted/facebook messaged to me.

What's the deal with not tracking when you're at a friend's?

Because I don't want to be the person who comes over to your house and says "this is what I eat" unless I have a really good reason. This is a perfectly fine thing to do myself but I don't want to impose it on my friends, husband or dog.* TheCSO, FWIW, thinks this is unreasonably restrictive of me in that lots of people say "this is what I eat." And yeah, I don't care if people say "this is what I eat" for:

(a) Health reasons
(b) Religious Reasons (i.e. Halal or Kosher, less so "my religion is boycotting tomatoes this week.")
(c) Permanent dietary choices (or even people who observe "meatless Mondays.") As long as it is a long term commitment thing. This is not me trying to be a bitch about other people's choices, it is just a massive convenience thing for my friends. For example, FortiesGirl keeps reform kosher. She's one of my best buds, so I keep Kosher food around. When I say "Hey Fortiesgirl, wanna stay for dinner?" I know that means I'm making kosher food for dinner. Similarly, Jana-who-creates is allergic to cinnamon. I've got friends who are in recovery. All of that is A-ok because I know what to expect because all of them are permanent conditions.

If I decided to say, go vegan, I'd just say "I'm a vegan now" and all my friends would know what to feed me. If three months later I was like "Yeah, turns out I like bacon. I eat meat again now," fine.*** But for me to be like "I'm only eating Organic or Local or Fairtrade food unless none is an option and no overfished fish and meat only once a day and you need to keep track of every penny you spend on me so I can put it on the internet" would be well, weird. Can't have that.

So yeah, that's my justification. If you think it sucks, what can I say? Start your own damn ethical eating project. If it helps, I'm having some friends over to study next Tuesday. We're going to eat spaghetti and I'm going to charge myself for everybody's food.

Can your husband buy you food? What about food you already own, do you have to pay for that?

Second question first, if you're taking the bar exam, all I need to tell you is that I'm using cash accounting rather than accrual accounting.


Ok, for the lucky rest of you, that means I charge myself for something when I eat it. Not when I buy it.** Therefore, I am eating the organic peanut butter that we already had. But I called up Trader Joe's and I found how much they charge for it and am billing myself equivalently. If theCSO and I split a large container of soup in roughly equal portions, I'm charging half of what we paid for the soup.

That also answers the first question. Even if theCSO bought the food and put it in the fridge, when I take it out and consume it, I'm charging myself. FWIW, despite the fact that I am eating what people serve me when I go over to friends' houses, I'm not actively trying to beat my own system. That would be silly. So yeah, I'm not going to be like "I ate a steak because my husband bought it for me." That's just straight up cheating.

You're not eating many vegetables.

No, I'm not. Tomorrow is the farmer's market. I've been eating extra cheaply this week because I'd like to add an additional $20 worth of ethically-compliant vegetables to my diet next week. But I will suspect that one of the major hypothoses I will have at the end of this is that one can eat ethically, eat within food stamp requirements or eat healthily, pick at most two.

Why do this so close to the bar?

Honestly, because a few days after the bar, LinguistFriend is moving in with us. I didn't want him to have to put up with these restrictions. TheCSO has been really tolerant. Also, because poor people have busy lives too. If I had tons of extra time to lavish on this project, I wouldn't be doing it justice as a model.

How come it is seven o'clock and you haven't updated?

I eat late and I'm busy. Expect updates at circa ten p.m.

Do you have something planned for the day you finish?

No. I'm fond of those Brazilian steakhouses, but I decided having something food-wise to look forward to that was off the plan was a violation of the spirit of the project.

Poor people who are trying to eat ethically don't have a magical day ten days away when they will get to go to a Brazilian Steakhouse. Why should I?

What I miss most, and this is very sad, are microwave burritos and Lean Cuisine. Bar prep tends to get me home around twoish and I really like coming home and eating lunch five minutes later. That is most easily achieved with sandwiches and I'm tired of them already.

Sermon over, on to today's stats:

Breakfast, as it were: (190 calories each)
Energy bar 2 @ .50 1

Peanut butter sandwich made of:
Two tablespoons organic peanut butter @ .28 (200 calories)
Two tablespoons organic raspberry spread @ .47 (45 calories)
Two slices of organic bread @ .20 each (110 each)

Sloppy Joe leftovers
Vegetarian sloppy joe sauce 3/4 cup 1.00 (120 calories)
Veggie faux meat crumbles 1/3 package 2.00 (200 calories)
Two slices of organic bread @ .20 each (110 each)

Skim Milk: .94 (172 calories)

Tomato soup: 1.59


Total for the day: *7.88
Remaining money: $70.15

Tomorrow: The

*Organic dog food is a thing, but it is not covered by foodstamps.

** Do not treat this as a gospel example of the cash method of accounting. It is more of a metaphor.

*** FWIW, I have a permanent preference not to eat veal or foie gras because they depress me and I make efforts to avoid overfished fish even when I'm just eating regularly. And okra is gross.


Anonymous said...

Why do foie gras and veal depress you?

Chalicechick said...

Most animals raised for food have shitty lives.

This I won't deny.

But for me there is, rationally or not, a line between "had a shitty life" and "was tortured" and veal crates and gavage cross it.

I do in a loose sense feel bad about the fact that I eat meat, though I am an omnivore. But I will go out of my way to avoid food that was in hell the entire time it was alive to make it taste better for me.

If you disagree, you can tell me about it but I don't care and I'm not really judging you. We all have lines in the sand we draw, this is just once of mine.


L said...

I find it surprising that your farmers market might not take food stamps. I know ours did and I didn't shop at booths that said "No WIC" or "No Food Stamps". That was only one booth, by the way.

I will be interested to see how many booths at the farmers market take food stamps. Please include that in your post.

PG said...

I won't buy veal or foie gras off a menu or at a store, for basically the same rationale as CC's: there's a line between food that *could* have been produced without torturing the animal, and food that *requires* torturing the animal.

But I admit to having tried a friend's order of veal once and to eating foie gras if it's part of a set tasting menu and thus not eating it means it just goes to waste. Veal, I have to admit, does taste good in a way that I don't think I've ever gotten from regular beef. Foie gras, not so much; I've had it from two very talented chefs in two very different ways. It really is pointless for me and in the future if it's on a set menu, I'm telling them not to bother giving me that course.

PG said...

Oh, forgot to say, have you ever had okra curry, especially as fried okra?

(I think the ability -- possibly survival tactic -- of South Indian cooking to take almost any food and make it tasty by halfway-obliterating its raw flavor and texture through the use of oil, heat and spices is responsible for my thinking all vegetables were tasty until I encountered them in school cafeteria form.)