Daniel Adler on the conflict between tradition and ethical eating:
We just have to make ourselves forget. For the sake of enjoying some meals, we must allow ourselves to succumb to selective amnesia. Even with all the times our eating choices adhere to the ethical, laudable, and reasonable rules espoused by the likes of Bittman and Pollan, there will inevitably be lapses. Just as the bachelor “elaborately disguises” his chicken with ingredients from a planter bed, a spice rack, or a box, so we must dress up our notions of the meaning of a meal, rerouting cold knowledge into pleasant feelings so that the food goes down easy.
A friend once put selective remembering as “an economy of truth,” and M.F.K. Fisher wrote that “more often than not it will be some kind of chicken, elaborately disguised with everything from Australian pine-nuts to herbs grown by the the landlady’s daughter.” While I don’t want my truth disguised with much of anything, I must admit that there was more than one side-of-box-recipe favorite of mine from childhood. (There is likely something graham cracker-crusted in my kitchen as I type.) But as Daniel points out, “Happiness is a recipe on a box that screams, with reassurance: ‘whatever you’re eating is okay.’”