Let me preface this discussion by saying that, yes, it is true. I am a vegetarian. But I'm not the kind of vegetarian that forces my beliefs down the throats of friends, family, or any random passer by that happens to cross my path. I don't appreciate it when people tell me that what I believe is wrong, so I try not to treat other people with the same disrespect. That said, today, while I was engaged in a completely tedious and boring work activity, I passed the time by listening to various audio clips of writer Jonathan Safran Foer discussing his book Eating Animals. The more I listened, the more I realized something: I need to do more, personally, to make sure that what I'm eating is coming from a healthy and clean source, not a place that abuses animals or pollutes the earth, not one that makes me, or others, ill.
To some, that may seem like an obvious statement to make and, no, it wasn't a complete epiphany for me, either. It's not as though JSF was telling me anything that I hadn't heard, and thought about, before. As a person that is already conscious about what I eat, a person who already reads ingredient lists, and is concerned with animal welfare, his words didn't shock me, but they did serve as a reminder, a reminder to not be so lazy. As consumers, we come to rely on packaging and labels, which often, don't mean anything at all. Free Range, Cage Free, Organic, these words don't necessarily mean what we think they do. We have to take it upon ourselves to find out where our food is coming from.
I know that this is a dessert blog, so at first I wasn't sure if this would even be relevant, but then I realized that the major components of baking, ingredients such as eggs, butter, milk, are also a large part of factory farming. I'm not telling you what to do or how to eat, but I think it's important information, even if you eat meat, to know where that meat is coming from, how the animal was raised and treated and processed. Even small changes, even minor adjustments, in the way we eat food, in the way we think about it, can make a big difference. Just something to consider.