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Anti-Americanism Explained June 30, 2010

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Culture, Dwight Furrow's Posts, Food and Drink.
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Via Huffington Post

The video below has been making the rounds, and for good reason. In it, an American tourist (YouTube user simoneharuko) visits what she calls, “pretty much the coolest grocery store of all time” in Alexanderplatz, Berlin, and found something she had never seen before: an American ethnic section. As Eater pointed out, “most of this stuff seems to be there for expatriates who want brands they recognize.”

Here is the video.


And here is the list of products included in the “U.S.A” ethnic food section:

  • Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate mix
  • Cans of V8
  • Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup (original and “Shell” style)
  • Maple syrup
  • Regular old syrup
  • Betty Crocker Baking Mixes: Blueberry, Chocolate Chip Cookie, Brownie, Cake, Muffins, Bisquik,
  • Betty Crocker frosting: Vanilla and Chocolate
  • Five (5) Pain Is Good Hot Sauce varieties
  • Jim Beam Barbecue Sauce, Steak Sauce, Hot Sauce, and Mustard
  • Four (4) Jack Daniel’s Barbecue Sauces
  • Paul Prudhomme “Magic” Seasoning blends
  • Paul Newman salad dressings
  • Hellman’s Mayonnaise
  • Wish Bone Blue Cheese Dressing
  • Marshmallow Fluff (original and strawberry)
  • Kraft Macaroni & Cheese
  • Cheese Zip (cheese whiz)
  • Head Country Barbecue Sauces
  • Bull’s Eye Barbecue Sauce
  • Hunt’s Barbecue Sauces
  • Cheddar, Nacho, and Jalapeno-flavored squeeze-bottled cheese
  • Mustards
  • Heinz sweet relish
  • Crisco shortening
  • Marshmallows
  • Campbell’s Soups

There is not much here worth eating.

I’ve just returned from Spain and Portugal, and I have spent some time in Italy and Germany as well. If there is one thing Europeans do well it is eat. If you are an ex-pat American living in Europe do you really pine for this stuff? You really want cheese whiz when you can have a nice Allgau Emmentaler?

Of course, our ethnic food sections don’t look much like a real market either. But much of what one finds there is at least edible and sometimes interesting.

A box of Kraft macaroni and cheese might induce all manner of speculation about the “American character” deficit.

book-section-book-cover2 Dwight Furrow is author of

Reviving the Left: The Need to Restore Liberal Values in America

For political commentary by Dwight Furrow visit: www.revivingliberalism.com


I Am A Tremendomeatatarian March 2, 2010

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Culture, Dwight Furrow's Posts, Food and Drink.
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From Wintry Smile:

Tremendomeatatarianism is the ethical stance of vowing only to eat meat that’s tremendously delicious. To some who are blinded by old ideas, tremendomeatatarianism may sound more like a joke than an ethos.

Your doubts and jeers aside, it is a demanding standard by which to judge your actions. The tremendomeatatarian refuses to eat meat simply because it is what his parents did, or because it is convenient, or because he lacks willpower. The tremendomeatatarian respects the fact that his food came from a living being, which died to provide him with dinner, and which may have suffered or be rare and overfished.† Or perhaps it’s bad for the environment. Any of these things are costs, so the good utilitarian must balance them out. So he vows that he will respect that sacrifice by only eating meat if it is tremendously delicious.

(†) Fish are not meat, but here they are honorary meat.

(‡) T-Rex made up the concept of Tremendomeatatarianism, but maybe he meant something different from what I mean. If you’re interested, go look at the interpretive issues.

(‡†) I’m not the only philosopher to propose a peculiar ethical doctrine concerning food. If you want a view that’s worked out in more detail, you can look at the Acutetarian page.

h/t Brian Leiter

I think this is the only rational approach—an approach that integrates aesthetics and ethics, a comprehensive conception of the good. May there be 10 Facebook groups devoted to Tremendomeatatarianism. May Peter Singer and Sarah Palin join hands and acknowledge the virtues of mooseburgers roasting on an open fire.

And peace be upon the world.

book-section-book-cover2 Dwight Furrow is author of

Reviving the Left: The Need to Restore Liberal Values in America

For political commentary by Dwight Furrow visit: www.revivingliberalism.com

Vegetarians Rejoice! December 3, 2009

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Dwight Furrow's Posts, Food and Drink, Science.
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Via the Sunday Times

SCIENTISTS have grown meat in the laboratory for the first time. Experts in Holland used cells from a live pig to replicate growth in a petri dish.

The advent of so-called “in-vitro” or cultured meat could reduce the billions of tons of greenhouse gases emitted each year by farm animals — if people are willing to eat it.

So far the scientists have not tasted it, but they believe the breakthrough could lead to sausages and other processed products being made from laboratory meat in as little as five years’ time.

They initially extracted cells from the muscle of a live pig. Called myoblasts, these cells are programmed to grow into muscle and repair damage in animals. […]

“You could take the meat from one animal and create the volume of meat previously provided by a million animals,” said Mark Post, professor of physiology at Eindhoven University, who is leading the Dutch government-funded research. […]

Peta, the animal rights group, said: “As far as we’re concerned, if meat is no longer a piece of a dead animal there’s no ethical objection.”

It is my understanding that a muscle has to be used in order if it is to develop the texture we are accustomed to eating.

So what would an exercise yard for disembodied pork parts look like?

book-section-book-cover2 Dwight Furrow is author of

Reviving the Left: The Need to Restore Liberal Values in America

For political commentary by Dwight Furrow visit: www.revivingliberalism.com

Friday Beer Blogging September 11, 2009

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Dwight Furrow's Posts, Food and Drink.
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This article comparing German and American beer is quite interesting. The writer is an American writing for a German publication. And he argues persuasively that American beer is better. (His German readers were less than enthusiastic)

Of course he is not talking about the Coors-Budweiser-Miller swill. He is promoting the fast-growing micro-brew market. (Germany has their own inferior mass-market brews which, to my taste, are a bit better than their American counterparts, but not by much.)

On quality, variety, and innovation he rates American micro-brews better than the brew-pub offerings from Germany.

I’m no expert on beer but I have done some beer tasting in Germany. On quality, I think it’s basically a wash; both countries make wonderful beer. The linked article confuses price with quality. German beers are not luxury items—their quality beers will not be outrageously expensive. Nevertheless, their meticulous attention to detail and quality ingredients make wonderful beer.

But on innovation and variety American beers are hands down better.

But what makes such comparisons difficult are the vast differences in the two beer cultures. In Germany, every city has their own style about which they are quite proud and they serve mostly that style with slight variations. In Munich you will drink primarily Hefeweisen, in Cologne Kolsch, in Bamberg Rauchbier (smoked beer). (Pilsner is available all over but with subtle regional differences). They are not much interested in variety (and don’t even ask for Belgium beer!)

In America, brew pubs are always innovating, searching for new styles, flavor combinations, and new methods. As the linked article points out:

To some extent the difference is unbridgeable–Germans are uninterested in innovation or even a wide variety of choice, because they feel they have already found perfection. Americans are dazzled by the possibilities of new angles and avenues, and pursue them relentlessly, even if it means breaking rules. Is there is a better statement about the basic differences between European and American culture?

I adore Hefeweizen, especially at 10:00 in the morning with Weisswurst, which is their mid-morning snack in Munich.

But if I lived in Germany, I would grow weary of the lack of variety.

Friday Food Blogging August 28, 2009

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Culture, Dwight Furrow's Posts, Food and Drink.
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Professor of Journalism and Food writer Michael Pollan’s recent article and review of the film Julia & Julia (which is in part about Julia Child who brought French cooking to millions on the TV in the 1960″s) raises an interesting question about contemporary life.

The Food Network can now be seen in nearly 100 million American homes and on most nights commands more viewers than any of the cable news channels. Millions of Americans, including my 16-year-old son, can tell you months after the finale which contestant emerged victorious in Season 5 of “Top Chef” (Hosea Rosenberg, followed by Stefan Richter, his favorite, and Carla Hall). […]

But here’s what I don’t get: How is it that we are so eager to watch other people browning beef cubes on screen but so much less eager to brown them ourselves? For the rise of Julia Child as a figure of cultural consequence — along with Alice Waters and Mario Batali and Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse and whoever is crowned the next Food Network star — has, paradoxically, coincided with the rise of fast food, home-meal replacements and the decline and fall of everyday home cooking.

Many of these shows are more like sports entertainment. (Top Chef, Iron Chef, etc.) They are  more about consuming and learning about contemporary taste than they are about cooking. (True confessions: These are the only shows I watch regularly on TV) And as Pollen points out, the ones that are about cooking don’t really teach you how to cook.

These shows stress quick results, shortcuts and superconvenience but never the sort of pleasure — physical and mental — that Julia Child took in the work of cooking: the tomahawking of a fish skeleton or the chopping of an onion, the Rolfing of butter into the breast of a raw chicken or the vigorous whisking of heavy cream. […]Child was less interested in making it fast or easy than making it right, because cooking for her was so much more than a means to a meal. It was a gratifying, even ennobling sort of work, engaging both the mind and the muscles. You didn’t do it to please a husband or impress guests; you did it to please yourself.

And what we call cooking today, according to market researcher Harry Balzer,

means to prepare a main dish that requires some degree of “assembly of elements.” So microwaving a pizza doesn’t count as cooking, though washing a head of lettuce and pouring bottled dressing over it does. Under this dispensation, you’re also cooking when you spread mayonnaise on a slice of bread and pile on some cold cuts or a hamburger patty.

Buying, not making, is what cooking shows are mostly now about — that and, increasingly, cooking shows themselves: the whole self-perpetuating spectacle of competition, success and celebrity that, with “The Next Food Network Star,” appears to have entered its baroque phase. The Food Network has figured out that we care much less about what’s cooking than who’s cooking.

I think it is clear why we watch these shows. As Pollen points out:

Yet even the most ordinary dish follows a similar arc of transformation, magically becoming something greater than the sum of its parts. Every dish contains not just culinary ingredients but also the ingredients of narrative: a beginning, a middle and an end.

Cooking produces a fascinating transformation of plants and animals into something fully human, attractive, and pleasurable—the transformation of nature into culture as Levi-Strauss said.

So why don’t we cook instead of watch?

Pollen mentions the obvious. We don’t have much time. However, food preparation among women who don’t work is still dropping. And marketing by the food industry has convinced us that the sugary, salty “stuff” they produce really tastes good. Supply drives demand.

So perhaps our interest in the Food Network is nostalgia for a lost world:

If cooking is as central to human identity and culture as Wrangham believes, it stands to reason that the decline of cooking in our time would have a profound effect on modern life. At the very least, you would expect that its rapid disappearance from everyday life might leave us feeling nostalgic for the sights and smells and the sociality of the cook-fire. Bobby Flay and Rachael Ray may be pushing precisely that emotional button.

So we might prefer to watch rather than do simply because the food industry makes it available to us and we are just lazy.

But I think there is a mistake in judgment that explains the decline of cooking as well. I think we often are mistaken about the sources of value in modern life. In our consumer society, we think that value resides in things. And it does. But things are instruments that enable activities. And we ought to value our activities more than things. It is our activities that reflect who we are, not the objects we buy.

The experience of using your skills to make the world different in a palpable way that you can touch, smell, and taste is an experience you cannot get from opening a can or package (or eating in a restaurant) regardless of its taste. The time you spend cooking (or the time spent practicing a musical instrument, gardening, making jewelry, etc.) is not just a cost that you subtract from the pleasure of enjoying the final product. The activity itself is an intrinsic good.

My wife cannot understand how I can spend 3 hours in the kitchen making something that I will consume in 10 minutes. Truth be told, the finished product is an afterthought. I hope it is good for the sake of the people who eat it. But the satisfaction has already been acquired.

If people find modern life boring, without challenge, an endless flow of information that never quite satisfies, they might try getting back to cooking.

book-section-book-cover2 Dwight Furrow is author of

Reviving the Left: The Need to Restore Liberal Values in America

For political commentary by Dwight Furrow visit: www.revivingliberalism.com

Friday Food Blogging August 14, 2009

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Dwight Furrow's Posts, Food and Drink.
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Economist Tyler Cowen advises that, if you want the best restaurant meal, don’t order from the menu–ask the waiter to “bring us what you would eat for the last meal of your life.”

I’m wondering if this is a good general strategy. (I have been with groups that ordered this way and it was exceptional, but my experience is a very small sample.)

A couple worries occur to me: (1) you might get that piece of fish at the back of the walk-in that the chef will have to toss if he doesn’t serve it soon or (2) the chef may cook the most expensive dish he can imagine to maximize profit.

However, I doubt that either of these are real worries. When you leave your fate in the chef’s hands that is a sign of respect and confidence. Most chefs take a great deal of pride in what they do and would view this, not as an opportunity for exploitation, but as an opportunity to show off.

Has anyone had any experience with this good or bad?

Assuming that this is a good strategy, Jason Kuznicki wonders why the great dishes are not on the menu.

I love Chinese food. I always have. And I mean the authentic dishes, not the made-for-Americans glop that they try to fob off on us.

So why is it that these superior dishes are always hidden away on a secret, Chinese-only menu?

He offers 4 theories:

1. Path dependence (a): Americans have some very set though inaccurate ideas about what “Chinese food” really is. They will generally balk at anything else. More people will break this way, and avoid the restaurants, than will break my way, and go to them more often, if they are offered something new and different.

2. Path dependence (b): Setting up a restaurant is a ton of work. Someone or some entity tells Chinese restaurants what they must to sell to appeal to Americans, and all the restaurants are following the same bad advice. The agent(s) to blame aren’t as subject to market forces because Chinese immigrants have fewer contacts than most others in America. If this seems speculative, consider how few different brands of chopsticks you’ve seen at Chinese restaurants, from the fabulous ones to the truly wretched. There aren’t that many.

3. I hate to bring up the obvious, but… chauvinism. Chinese people have certain ideas about Americans, including that our culinary tastes are incredibly narrow. Obviously, this may be partially true, given (1) above.

4. The high costs of offering so many different dishes. I’m skeptical of this one, because Chinese people are usually offered the Chinese menu, if there is one, while Americans get the American menu. The costs of being able to prepare the dishes are in place either way

Which is the most plausible explanation?

I’m not sure Kuznicki is right about relative costs. A restaurant is obligated to have menu items on hand which requires purchasing all the necessary ingredients in sufficient quantities. I doubt that there is such an obligation for off-menu items.

The Bread of Love, or “Feel Like Baking Love” August 7, 2009

Posted by Nina Rosenstand in Culture, Food and Drink, Nina Rosenstand's Posts.

I’m back after a summer without Internet access, on a lake far, far away. News meant morning and evening news on the radio, and evening news on an old TV with a rabbit’s ear antenna. 2 channels. And actual, hands-on, crinkly newspapers that leave newsprint on your fingers. Remember those days?

Anyway, the local public radio waxed philosophical every Saturday morning, and one of the shows I caught was about bread and love. So I thought this would be an appropriate Friday post! The show featured a former journalist who is now a professional miller, and baker. They touched on themes such as bread in mythology, bread in history, Give us this day our daily bread (not daily protein, mind you), the transubstantiation—lots of fascinating points made, including a commentary by a theologian. The topic caught my attention, because I, too, am a baker of breads.

What happens when we add the yeast to the flour? Magic, they said. They actually said that. Rational, modern people on a Saturday morning, talking about the Mystery of Bread. You never really know how the bread will turn out, they said—there are so many factors at play, in addition to the temperature of the liquid and the age of the yeast. What is the air pressure? The room temperature? Your own attention and commitment to the task at hand? Sometimes the yeast comes alive the way it is supposed to, and sometimes it just doesn’t. From my own experience (which turns out to be universal) the kneading process will tell you if the yeast will cooperate. Either you’re struggling with dead weight, or you are feeling new life happen between your fingers. It rises! It’s alive! Frankenstein would have been better off if he’d just baked bread. And so would the villagers. (And we’re not even talking about Frankensteinian womb-envy here—anyone can play and bake bread. You don’t have to be of the female persuasion. But the show didn’t get into that aspect.)

So if we yearn for the creative process, without any Marxist alienation whatsoever, because we are in touch with the process, literally, from start to finish, baking bread is a great option. Once we get good at it, it will satisfy some of the creative urges we may have that are as yet unfulfilled. But that’s just from a personal, egocentric perspective. What about the love angle?

On the show, one of the women interviewed made this point: “When I bake,” she said, “I create something that will nourish others. So I put my love into the bread, and it will continue to nourish my family even when I’m absent. I leave my breads for my kids to eat in the afternoon, when I’m at work, and that is my way of telling them their mother loves them even if she is not physically there.” That perspective spoke to me. Every time I myself leave my family to go off on an extended stay (family business, or work-related), I try to find time to bake, and stuff the freezer with enough baked goods to last at least a week. It is a compulsion. I must bake, and leave baked goods behind. So I suppose I am baking love…

Friday Food Blogging July 31, 2009

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Dwight Furrow's Posts, Food and Drink.
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Ezra Klein wants you to eat your vegetables. And I think that is good advice, not only because vegetables are good for you but because the consumption of meat makes a substantial contribution to global warming.

According to a 2006 United Nations report, livestock accounts for 18 percent of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Some of meat’s contribution to climate change is intuitive. It’s more energy efficient to grow grain and feed it to people than it is to grow grain and turn it into feed that we give to calves until they become adults that we then slaughter to feed to people. Some of the contribution is gross. “Manure lagoons,” for instance, is the oddly evocative name for the acres of animal excrement that sit in the sun steaming nitrous oxide into the atmosphere. And some of it would make Bart Simpson chuckle. Cow gas — interestingly, it’s mainly burps, not farts — is a real player.

But the result isn’t funny at all: Two researchers at the University of Chicago estimated that switching to a vegan diet would have a bigger impact than trading in your gas guzzler for a Prius. A study out of Carnegie Mellon University found that the average American would do less for the planet by switching to a totally local diet than by going vegetarian one day a week.

I am not a vegetarian and don’t intend to become one; I love my meats. But cutting back to 1 or 2 meat meals a week is not much of a sacrifice, especially because chicken and fish contribute little to climate change compared to beef.

According to a recent study by Christopher L. Weber and H. Scott Matthews of at Carnegie Mellon University (funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation):

The production phase is responsible for 83 percent of the average U.S. household’s greenhouse-gas burden with regard to food, while transportation accounts for only 11 percent, the new study found. The production of red meat, the researchers conclude, is almost 150 percent more greenhouse-gas-intensive than chicken or fish.

As Klein argues:

It’s also worth saying that this is not a call for asceticism. It’s not a value judgment on anyone’s choices. Going vegetarian might not be as effective as going vegan, but it’s better than eating meat, and eating meat less is better than eating meat more. It would be a whole lot better for the planet if everyone eliminated one meat meal a week than if a small core of die-hards developed perfectly virtuous diets.

Friday Food Blogging July 17, 2009

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Dwight Furrow's Posts, Food and Drink.
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Does corporate food suck?

Ezra Klein, who now writes a biweekly column on the politics of food for the Washington Post, has a post defending the virtues of The Cheesecake Factory.

In contrast to food snobs who disdain chain restaurants, Klein argues:

Not only did the miso salmon rock, but so too did the crispy beef. The spaghetti carbonara and chicken piccata Ruhlman’s party ordered were also pretty good. And of course they were. The Cheesecake Factory isn’t accidentally popular. They spend millions each year on food research. They have access to a tremendous quantity of data on consumer preferences. They have the money to test new products and experiment with new dishes and refine their flavors. They have central processing plants where food is par fried and broken down with sugar and salt injections. People should read David Kessler’s The End of Overeating to get an idea of the resources that go into creating the flavors for chain dishes. They’re not screwing around.

Foodies have an unfortunate tendency to alight on a Unified Field Theory of Corporate Food: It’s bad for the environment and bad for workers and bad for animals and bad for waistlines and, above all that, a fraud, because it also tastes bad. This would be convenient, if true. If people weren’t actually enjoying what they were eating, then getting them to change their eating habits would be pretty easy. But it’s not true, of course. They keep going back to the Cheesecake Factory because, well, they like it.

He goes on to discuss the fact that such food is laden with calories so it is bad for you. However:

Human beings are wired to prefer abundance, salt, fat, sugar, and value. The Cheesecake Factory is giving people the whole package. Changing people’s eating habits so that type two diabetes don’t become the new chubby would be easy if the food was actually repulsive or the value was bad or it was all, in some other way, a trick. But it’s not. The food is enjoyable. The value is incredible.

Having eaten at The Cheesecake Factory recently, I suppose I agree that the food tastes good. And he is certainly right about the resources corporations dump into figuring out what people like and giving it to us.

The problem with his post is that he misses the point about why foodies dislike corporate food. Foodies don’t seek out food that tastes good—that is easy to find. We want food that is unusual, authentic, inspired, rich with interesting cultural associations, creative or inventive, and capable of satisfying idiosyncratic tastes.

You won’t find corporate food satisfying any of these criteria. In fact, the whole point of their research and development is to make sure their food is not challenging. I just can’t get excited about another plate of chicken piccata or miso salmon.

From the standpoint of why food is interesting, corporate food isn’t. And that sucks.


book-section-book-cover2 Dwight Furrow is author of

Reviving the Left: The Need to Restore Liberal Values in America

or Visit the Website: www.revivingliberalism.com

The Ethics of Urban Foraging July 11, 2009

Posted by Ian Duckles in Criminal Justice, Culture, Ethics, Food and Drink.

Recently I have taken to foraging for some of my food and I have wondered about the morality of such an action. Some types of foraging I engage in are clearly morally acceptable. I recently foraged some oranges and lemons from the trees of neighbors, but I asked permission first, so there is clearly no problem there. In addition, I found a nice patch of nasturtiums on an empty lot that appears to be city-owned. Again, picking a few flowers from this patch to throw in a salad does not seem problematic. These two examples seem to show that foraging is uncontroversial in those situations where one has permission or the item being foraged is not owned (issues arising around the tragedy of the commons might play in here, but I am going to ignore them for now).

Far more problematic of course is the situation where one takes fruits or flowers from private property without permission. Occasionally on my many walks around town I see some lovely ripe fruit on a tree hanging over a wall or in someone’s front yard. In some situations I have gone ahead and taken the fruit. The question, of course, is: Is this stealing? On one hand it clearly does appear to be that. I cross over onto privately owned land and take something from that land for my own use. In some sense, the taking of a lemon from a tree does seem to be identical in kind to, for example, taking someone’s lawn furniture.

In my defense, there is a very old (going back at least to the Romans) legal principle know as “usufruct” which, according to an online law dictionary is defined as “the legal right to use and derive profit or benefit from property that belongs to another person, as long as the property is not damaged.” This legal principle helps distinguish between the two sorts of acts discussed above. When I take a lemon from a tree, the tree still exists and remains undamaged (in some situations, removing lemons from a particularly fruitful tree can actually contributes to the health of the tree) and can still be used by the owner. By contrast, taking the lawn furniture deprives the owner of her ability to use that furniture. Thus, perhaps we can justify the former and still find the latter impermissible.

The problem with this solution is that, as near as I can tell, one must be granted usufructory rights. That is, I don’t have a generalized right to usufruct, I only have this right in situations where that right has been granted by some individual. Thus, issues of usufruct really only apply in those situations described above where I get permission to harvest my neighbors lemon and orange trees. In these situations I have been granted usufructory rights to those trees, but not to the trees of strangers.

So, I seem back in the position I started, is there any justification for taking fruit or flowers without permission from someone’s garden? Am I just a thief? The problem here is that these questions are articulated within a particular, western legalistic frame that takes property rights as absolute. There is, in fact another way of looking at the issue, one which does seem to justify the actions I have described above. I came across a very nice articulation of this point in Wendall Berry’s The Unsettling of America. He cites a letter he received from David Budbill that, in part, describes the principles of property and land ownership that are operative in his community in Vermont,

…we always, with our neighbor, pick apples in the fall off trees on a down-country owner’s land. There is a feeling we have the right to do that, a feeling that the sin is not trespass, the sin is letting the apple’s go to waste.

I find this quotation to be a nice summary of my own feelings on the subject. The one change I would make is in that italicized word ‘right.’ As the author describes the situation it almost seems as if the word ‘obligation’ is more accurate. That is, when the earth produces its bounty, especially when we are the ones that have nurtured it, we have an obligation to make use of that bounty and not allow it to go to waste. This very much describes my own feelings when I pass a  tree that is so heavy with fruit that it is falling off the tree and rotting on the ground. This seems like such a waste, that I almost feel an obligation to harvest and enjoy some of that fruit myself. In many cases, particularly if there is no one around, I go ahead and give in to those feelings.

Now I do worry that I am guilty of rationalizing here, but at the same time, I also feel that my feelings concerning waste have legitimate validity and need to be entered into my moral calculus. Beyond this, there are a variety of reasons related to US food policy and my interests in local food that provide buttressing justifications for the kind of foraging I have been considering. Anyway, these are my thoughts and I would be very curious to hear what others think of this issue (particularly people who have nice gardens).