The Times’s venerable dining section recently shone its inky spotlight on Brooklynite Isa Moskowitz in “Strict Vegan Ethics, Frosted With Hedonism” (Jan 24), and I’m sure you, like me, were rather troubled by a particular quote attributed to the woman behind the public-access television cooking show, Post-Punk Kitchen. (Sensitive readers should turn the page without reading on.) Moskowitz explained her veganism thusly: “I would love to live in a world where I knew the eggs came from happy chickens. But in Brooklyn? That’s not going to happen.”
Edible Brooklyn is here to set straight this altogether unfit-to-print news. My dear Isa, have you attempted to find eggs from happy chickens in Brooklyn? Eggs laid by birds who spend their days not in battery cages but on green pasture under blue sky? Eggs with yolks more orange than yellow, thanks to the grass eaten by the happy hens who lay them? Eggs which, if incubated, would actually hatch chicks, thanks to a cock in the flock of said happy hens? Take a trip to a Greenmarket, nay even a community garden (see our Fall 2006 issue), and learn all about the chickens whose eggs are collected by the people selling them. (Good luck finding such a direct relationship with the faces behind your food in much of the rest
of this nation.)
Brooklyn offers ample opportunity to meet your makers. Thousands of your neighbors know and love farmer Bill Maxwell. One of his customers, Ranjit, so enjoys the personal relationships with farmers he’s fostered in Brooklyn that he’s archived their weekly rendezvous. At restaurants like Diner and Marlow & Sons or new grocers like Forager’s proteins are straight from small, local farmers, and morally straight, too. As for your happy chickens, guess where the term free-range was coined?
Perhaps I’m too hard on Ms. Moskowitz. I sincerely applaud anyone who takes a critical look at our food system and eschews what they reject. But I’m a bigger cheerleader of those who seek out alternatives they respect. Do responsible animal practices spring up like mushrooms, or are they nurtured by customers who patronize them? It’s hardly a chicken-and-egg question.
In more celebratory news, I’m delighted that this issue marks Edible Brooklyn’s first anniversary! We knew Brooklyn would have an appetite for us, but you’re downright ravenous—the problem is how quickly the copies are gone. A hearty, heartfelt thank you to our advertisers, without whom we would not exist. If you love Edible, tell the businesses whose ads grace our pages, and whose checks make this publication both possible and free.
You can tell us, too, in person, over many glasses of luscious Long Island wine, at our fabulous tasting party, Brooklyn Uncorked, Wednesday, May 16.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a birthday cake to bake, with some oblong orbs of perfect protein laid by happy hens. I bought them at the Greenmarket this morning, right here in Brooklyn.
Spring carrots, Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket, Park Slope.