Saturday, November 07, 2009

We all have to have our nice hobbies

Here's Jonathan Safran Foer on urban homesteading , specifically, the value of keeping backyard chickens: "Is it a solution to anything? Not really. It might be kind of nice in a hobby way. . . People who do stuff on their own, it's more like a personal interest thing rather than a real alternative."

I don't disagree. But the decision to keep chickens is no more or less a "real alternative" to the problem of factory-farmed eggs than an individual choosing to become a vegan, the option chosen by Jonathan Safran Foer. A real alternative? I don't know. Legislation? That sounds like fun. I would never, ever argue that keeping chickens is going to save the world,  but "it might be kind of nice in a hobby way" has such a supercilious edge to it.

Foer comes out as a vegan right here, then skirts the issue throughout his new book, Eating Animals, and in most interviews. I was going to go hear him speak yesterday at Book Passage and ask him why, but Isabel was sent home sick -- coughing, feverish, dizzy, sore throat, etc. -- and I stayed in. All symptoms of the unspeakable, which the advice nurse at the pediatrician's office said it well might be. 

At top is the cup custard I made using Gourmet Today and hobby eggs. 

And these are the baked eggs in piperade, ditto.
A typical Gourmet Today performance: fine.


  1. Makes me feel the same way as when I hear someone use the word "little" when refering to anything that might be important or big to me.
    How's your little project going? How's your little friend?

    Once - when working at a little job managing a store, a little old man told me not to worry my pretty little head. Cute? it doesn't matter. Because LITTLE things don't matter. Hobbies - sounds like another way to belittle something important.

  2. do we sense a review coming on? is tipsy about to shed her "little" farmette persona and unsheathe the sword of the mighty book critic?
    the fact that she was planning a stalking/confrontation incident yesterday would suggest as much.
    personally, i can't wait!

  3. Grr. I wish JSF had left off with Everything Is Illuminated. Even his follow up Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close lacked the surprising blend of laugh out loud humor and grief strewn story that mesmerized me in Illuminated. Now he has found it critical to voice his own little choices and impart his personal little wisdoms about the treatment of animals and what the acceptable solutions include (and what they do not)? He needs a new hobby.

  4. I agree with you. Don't you think if you wrote an entire book about how horrible factory farming is, the only real conclusion of which, is to become vegan- you would be more forthcoming about this choice? Maybe it's just me, but its almost like he is embarrassed that he has made this choice, or we will find him secretly eating burgers at McDonalds. Maybe you could work that into your stalking.

  5. Sounds like the piggy flu to me. Hubby had it last week. The rest of us got vaccinated on Saturday. Try to get Tamaflu. He got it the first day he had symptoms and the flu only lasted 2 days. (I think you have to argue that she is high risk to get it though since there is a shortage. Given her age, I would say there is a good argument for it.)