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Hey, I’m Eating That

August 25, 2010

If you are eating while you read this, I would strongly recommend you stop right now.  Click on the RSS feed, add the FUSSYlittleBLOG to whatever blog reader you use, and come back later.  Preferably, after you have digested.

Today might get a little disgusting.  Maybe more than a little.
You’ve been warned

I could be wrong, but I believe that most non-human living things instinctively know what is food and what is not.  That’s not to say they can’t be tricked, or that they will always make the best decisions.  But there are some who believe that the first people learned what to eat by watching what foods lower animals ate and noting which berries they avoided.

That said, I watched with horror many years ago when I saw a couple of tourist children trying to feed the pigeons Nerds candy.  Their parents were sitting nearby, watching the scene unfold.  The birds were curious about these small brightly colored objects.  They pecked around them, but refused to eat them.

Let me say that again. Pigeons refused to eat them.

Pigeons eat small rocks and much much worse. I watched those very same pigeons even peck pieces of rice out of vomit on the street.  But they wouldn’t touch this candy.  Yet the children’s parents were unfazed by this evolutionary lesson, and let their children happily munch away on the candy that even pigeons wouldn’t eat.

To some extent, the inverse of this theorem holds true too.  If you are eating real, wholesome food, occasionally you will have an uninvited visitor.

This happened with Mrs. Fussy and me the first time we subscribed to a CSA.  She claims to have washed the broccoli thoroughly, and yet when we were eating it at the table, we got mouthfuls of aphids.  They apparently love organic broccoli.

More recently the corn we have been getting from Roxbury Farm occasionally has a happy corn earworm munching away at some kernels.  It’s really no bother.  Our share is more than enough for the family and one or two earworms.  I just cut off the section the worm was eating, and put the little bugger outside where it will be eaten by the birds and fulfill its role in the circle of life.

Have I mentioned how much I love Disney movies?

Anyway, I’d much rather have one earworm to dispose of then a sink full of aphids.  But either way, the simple fact that there isn’t enough poison on the food I’m eating to kill these small creatures is very comforting to me.  It is one thing for food to say it’s organic.  It is entirely another for the food to occasionally demonstrate this meaningful fact.

Mind you, this is categorically different from getting the proverbial fly in one’s soup.  Or even the less proverbial cockroach in one’s dolma (at a business lunch with clients that my office had catered, so I had to keep my mouth shut).

Maybe organic food isn’t for the squeamish.  But we share this planet with a lot of other living creatures, and they need to eat too.  Just try to remember, if you’ve got a few bugs on your produce, you can wash them off.  Pesticides can be a lot harder to get rid of.

When I’m not munching on the delicious vegetables that come from my CSA, I use this handy dandy list to help me decide when to buy conventionally raised fruits and vegetables and when organically grown produce is a better choice.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 25, 2010 9:59 pm

    Wow, I think I would kind of puke in my mouth if I saw a live bug on my food while eating. I am so squeamish. Check out my food flinging post, I thought you may appreciate it with a little one in your house as well.

  2. RealFoodMom permalink
    August 25, 2010 11:16 pm

    I agree with your welcoming most of the little critters that come along with fresh organic produce. I’m also with you on your dislike of the aphids — I admit I have thrown out very infested broccoli, and even lettuce, rather than eat it. I can’t remember our Roxbury Farm stuff ever having aphids, though. I usually have my children help prep our Roxbury share, and they are completely unbothered by the worms in the corn, bugs on the lettuce, etc. Sometimes we find a ladybug in our share. Occasionally, we even get a lovely green inchworm, and we all gather to watch it make its way across the cutting board, or our fingers, for a few moments, before gently putting it outside on a leaf. None of our family, however, enjoys finding a worm in a poorly inspected peach or apple that we have bitten into — eeeeww!!!

  3. August 26, 2010 9:21 am

    My parents grew broccoli one year, last time ever after seeing the little green worms all over it after they had eaten most of it. Thank god, I hate broccoli.

  4. mirdreams permalink
    September 1, 2010 2:44 pm

    Pigeons eat small stones not because they’re not being discriminating but because they need them to grind up food in their gizzard. They’re eating them on purpose, as many birds do.

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