Pasta and bread on a plate.

Is Vegetarianism Really Ethical?

“The moral rules of destroying our fellow biota get even more tangled, the deeper we go. If we draw the okay-to-kill line between “animal” and “plant,” and thus exclude meat, fowl, and fish from our diet on moral grounds, we still must live with the fact that every sack of flour and every soybean-based block of tofu came from a field where countless winged and furry lives were extinguished in the plowing, cultivating, and harvest.”

–Barbara Kingsolver, “You Can’t Run Away on Harvest Day”

I have never been a big fan of vegetables–unless you count broccoli drowned in melted cheese or potatoes in all of their glorious forms. (French fries are totally a vegetable, right?) It’s no surprise that I failed when my vegetarian brother challenged me to see how long I could go without eating meat. I made it a total of four days, that is, until my parents made breakfast for dinner. Without hesitation, I quit the challenge the second the smell of my dad’s juicy bacon hit my nose.

I can see why a person might choose to be a vegetarian. First, a vegetarian diet has health benefits. Well, it should have health benefits, but that is if you actually eat vegetables. (I was more of a pastatarian than a vegetarian.) Another reason, and probably the most popular reason, is because of moral beliefs. Many people are uncomfortable with the idea of having an animal killed for their eating pleasure instead of necessity. In addition to being killed, often times these animals live in awful conditions up until their death. These animals are purposely fed too much and are kept in tight, overcrowded spaces. Continue reading

Gazpacho, My Dear Watson: Innovation in Cooking

 “For years, a down-home sensibility with an obsession for quality and seasonality was the backbone of Hastings’ concept. But amid the hoopla, Hot and Hot has in some ways become Haute and Haute.”

–Eric Velasco, “Success Has Not Spoiled Hot and Hot Fish Club”12784523_10206977711696015_1913390934_n

Chris Hastings is, by all accounts, one of the most prolific chefs on the Birmingham food scene.  He’s won awards, been featured on television, and bested Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America (my personal favorite of the overly dramatic Food Network cooking competitions). Although he owns two other restaurants in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, the Hot and Hot Fish Club is his longest-running—it opened in 1995—and most popular establishment. Eric Velasco, when reviewing the restaurant, was pleased to find that Hastings’s growing fame “has brought new maturity to the menu while the food continues to be inspirational.” Continue reading

Taking the “Suffering” out of Succotash: A Home-Grown Approach

“We’ve seen mayors building safe spaces where children can play, faith leaders
educating their congregations about healthy eating, and parents
preparing healthier meals and snacks for their kids.”

-First Lady Michelle Obama
“The Business Case for Healthier Food Options”


I can imagine that being the First Lady of the United States comes with some benefits. For starters, you get to live in one of the most iconic houses in America, and maybe become close friends with a celebrity or two (Beyoncé, anyone?). Of course, another incredible perk of the position is the opportunity to pursue your own political platform. So while her husband has been busy healing our relationship with Cuba and amending our healthcare system, among other things, Mrs. Obama has brought about great changes as well. One of her programs is the Let’s Move! initiative, which promotes exercise and healthier eating for the youth of America. Continue reading

What’s in Charge of Your Gut?

USDA_Food_Pyramid           MyPlate

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture established the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion in 1994 to promote the nutrition and well-being of Americans.”

– The United States Department of Agriculture

Bad things go at the top, right? Candy, soda, cookies – that sort of thing. And at the bottom is, uh, wheat? Bread and stuff. Look, the last time I really saw the Food Pyramid was in 4th grade. Some group came to our school and talked about eating vegetables and that Mr. T pities the fool who does drugs. There were T-shirts and stickers, and some kid got in trouble for poking teachers with the metal pin buttons.

On second thought, I may be thinking of D.A.R.E. The point is, I didn’t pay much attention to the Food Pyramid, and I doubt anyone else did either. I had a general sense that I should eat more greens and less sweets, but my family wasn’t basing our eating habits on anything specific. The pyramid was just something there – everyone knew about it, of course, but that was it. Continue reading