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Music – “I Can Eat It All [A Music Video]” from Remotely Controlled by Mark Lowry. Released: 1996
When I was growing up, I can only recall hearing the term “carnivore” and I think I was in my 20’s, when I heard the words “vegetarian” and “omnivore“.
The cookbooks my mother had in our kitchen were your basic meat and potatoes kinds of cookbooks: Betty Crocker, Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping, and the like.
The 1956 edition of Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book, of which I have a slightly ragged copy, indicates that the daily menu should include foods from each of the recommended food groups including fruits and vegetables (not good news for the carnivore), milk and milk products including cheese (leaves out the lactose intolerant), meat, poultry or fish (so much for the vegetarians), grains including bread, flour and cereals (too bad gluten intolerant people), and fats including butter and margarine (bye bye vegans).
If there were any vegetarians, vegans, or lactose intolerant kids in my grade school, I sure didn’t know it. I just assumed that everyone ate the kind of food my mom served: your basic omnivore diet. The only clue I ever had, which made me think that people in my neighborhood maybe didn’t all eat like “us” was having lunch on occasion at a friend’s house down the block. Her mother would serve us chicken noodle soup (Campbell’s, of course….was there anything else?), out of scraped out grapefruit halves. My friend also told me that the same “bowls” were used for breakfast cereal. At the time, I thought it quite strange, but looking back, perhaps they were earlier recyclers on our block. Or frugal, or both. I do recall the chicken noodle soup having a particular tang to it.
I have never met, to my knowledge, anyone, who is myristricivorous (eats only nutmegs), nor have I met anyone claiming to be hylophagous (eats wood), although I recall that my mother told me we had a cousin, who in his later years, in newfound experimentation, ate twigs.
Much as I like onions, I do not consider myself to be cepivorous, and as a more or less non-galactophagist, milk is only to be put on cereal, or in cooking. Growing up in southern Ontario, among thousands of acres of mature pines and maple trees, I never had a hankering to become gumnivorous and I preferred to hear the frogs at night, rather than becoming bactrachivorous.
One of the terms I have not encountered previously, is “flexitarian”, which supposedly indicates that one eats a largely plant based diet, with the occasional meat added. In our enlightened age, there are a myriad of titles to identify the food preferences of people.
Currently, it seems acceptable and even enviable to engage in “freeganism”, which certainly sounds more appropriate and less disgusting than “dumpster diving” or “dustbin dinner”. And yet, various studies have shown that Americans alone throw out approximately $165 Billion Dollars of food each year, representing approximately 40 % of all food!
Nannie F. Jeter, Manager of a dining hall in North Carolina, published articles about reducing food waste. In her chapter, “What We Are Doing to Conserve Food and Keep Down Waste”, published in 1918, she indicates that waste in the kitchen is carefully guarded. After implementing a number of plans, she said that the results were admirable, and that the waste from the meals would scarcely fill a quart cup. Fat and grease waste was made into soap. Ms. Jeter noted that if only one ounce of food was wasted in America in one day, approximately 1,300,000 pounds of food would be thrown away annually (1918). Compare that to current estimates from 2013, in the USA alone, of approximately 90,000,000,000,00 (ninety billion) pounds! Where does it all go? Into the landfill, where it generates mega amounts of methane gas (don’t blame the cows!)
In my cookbook collection, I have 6 cookbooks dealing with leftovers, ranging from 1952 to 1991. In browsing cookbook websites and catalogues, there don’t appear to be many newer cookbooks tackling the leftover problem. Is this because we just toss instead of recycling?
I paid a visit some time ago to a local fruit and vegetable market in Albuquerque and was astonished to find cases upon cases of perfectly good fruits, including cherries, stacked outside near the dumpster at the rear of the parking lot. When I asked if I might take some, I was told to help myself. After pawing through a couple of cases of cherries, I discovered that the only thing “wrong” with them, was they were all double cherries on one stem, the Siamese twins of cherries. They were fresh and tasted wonderful, but the young man carrying more of them outside said that the customers would never buy them…they weren’t perfect!
So, here’s to the locavore freegan flexitarians! Keep doing what you’re doing. But you may soon have some competition from the invasivores. They may get the Zebra Mussels before you do!