Tuesday, November 17, 2009

BLT Bento

This year my friend Laura and I attended the Harvest Festival in our town. We wandered around the food booth until we came to a beautiful family: mother with blond braid down to her waist, holding a beautiful blond apple-cheeked baby; 3 other blond children all radiantly eating dried apricots, and quiet blond dad. These were the owners of a local dairy that was selling cheeses and hog shares.

Laura and I are both increasingly worried about our contaminated food supply, so we circled back to the family again and read their hog share pamphlet. Finally we broke down and reserved a hog share (40 pounds of assorted chops, steaks, bacon, roast, ham, etc.) each.

The pamphlet described blissfully happy hogs, who wander in sunny pastures all day long and dine on whey "The Perfect Food for Hogs" left over from the cheese-making process. It was a little strange to think of our hog, so happy in the autumn sun, blissfully not knowing about his upcoming trip to the butcher in St. Cloud and eventual fate in our freezers. I named our hog "Socrates", after John Stuart Mill's claim that:

It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question. The other party to the comparison knows both sides.

Philosophers debate whether the pleasures of a pig are equal in value to the pleasures of a human, and Mill says no. Our hog Socrates might have disagreed.

Anyway even though it sounds weird, this little hog-share venture has so far paid off in the best-tasting bacon in the universe. So I made BLT's for our bentos on Monday.

I do have mixed feelings about meat eating. I've spent several years being a vegetarian off and on throughout my life. Currently I think there's a place in the moral universe for humanely raised meat animals. A short life on a farm eating whey among pretty children in sunny pastures might be life enough. I don't know...


  1. I can understand your thoughts. But on the other hand, meat you don't eat will be discard and destroyed. And then, the death of this animal was really useless. That's one of my reasons, why I eat meat. But you are right. If I had the money, I would buy my meat only in local stores, next to the farmers. But... poor student ^^"
    Ok, back to the bento. Looks great ;)So much nice accessories! Hope it was delicious ;)

  2. lil'chan: Very good point about the waste of death. This farm-raised pork was the single most expensive food item I have ever purchased! Little bento accessories...love them.

  3. FL - I was vegetarian for years and I finally gave up the lifestyle when I got married and was not able to keep up with cooking separate meals for me and hubby (who is Mr. Meat and Taters).

    Here is what I think about it - in the animal kingdom - they eat each other and it is all part of God's circle of life. So, we are really no different (why else would we have canine teeth??)! AND there are nutrients in meat that can not be found in any other food or vitamin source... and our bodies need it!!! BUT this is all my opinion! ;)


  4. I also experience an ambivalence about eating meat, not just for the humane issues, but also for environmental ones.

    After much reflection I believe I arrived at a similar conclusion as you--there is room to include meat if one does so in a thoughtful manner. I have switched to pastured meat raised on small family farms.

    Yes, it does cost something of a premium, but reducing portions keeps the cost-per-meal about the same.