Rant or Rave: Paddock to Plate, Farm to Table
The romantic concept of Paddock to Plate dining, or as it’s better known in the USA, Farm to Table dining, is a complete load of rubbish. Let’s think about it for a minute – where should food come from? No restaurant is going to promote “Factory processing plant 15,000km away to your table” or “The epic journey of these ingredients on your plate” dining are there?
The more I read and learn about food production, the angrier I get.
Food is supposed to come from gardens, paddocks, oceans, rivers, dams, trees and farms. It’s supposed to be grown or raised on the land or in the water – whether you’re vegetarian, omnivore, carnivore, vegan, pescetarian, paleo, whatever, it doesn’t matter. What we eat nourishes our body, helps it grow from being a baby to being an adult, and as an adult, it’s what keeps us in good health. You ain’t going to find that in a packet in isle 7 of the supermarket.
It makes complete sense that what we eat has a direct effect on our health. Just look at how we – in the western world – shop for food. Look at what our average food intake consists of. And then look at the rates of disease – cancers at an all time high. In Australia, one in four – that is 25 per cent of the population – will suffer from cancer. That’s ludicrous.
We can’t expect to eat only foods from a packet with listed ingredients that hardly any of us understand and expect to be healthy. It’s basic common sense. The way I look at it is that if you kept putting the wrong fuel in your car, it won’t run efficiently and eventually it’ll stop running at all.
To me, good food is food that is good quality, that tastes good, but that is also good for us and had minimal interference from processing. It doesn’t have to be all kale-loaded green smoothies, either. It can be as simple as a fresh salad with a BBQ, using quality meat / fish / or whatever is being barbecued and quality salad ingredients.
One thing that eating Paleo for the past eight weeks (and trying to eat organic whenever we can) has taught me is that what I eat has had a profound affect on how I feel – it’s been profoundly positive. I wasn’t the huge of broccoli until we bought some organic broccoli from the farmers’ markets. What a difference in taste and texture. And I was going off zucchini too – Zorba said that it’s ‘chalky’ when cooked, whereas organic zucchini doesn’t have that same texture.
I keep thinking about how my grandparents lived – from Italy to suburban Melbourne. Both sets of grandparents had vegetable gardens, fruit trees, and free roaming chickens that provided for the family. Even in a backyard that wasn’t very big, they made room for a garden. My parents have been the same and still have vegetable garden. Sadly, no chickens these days but as a child we grew up with chickens that laid fresh eggs that my sister and I collected daily. We weren’t rich, in fact, our family struggled to make ends meet back then but the garden sustained us. And if it wasn’t for the garden, we might have been on rations. It’s a way of life that many of us could benefit from today.
The Paddock to Plate trend is laughable, but at least it does one thing: it is making people more aware, and hopefully appreciate, good freshly harvested food. As food should be.
What do you think about Paddock to Plate dining?