Rationale picture


Sensationalism, to at least a certain degree, has always been one of the common elements of marketing, we all know that by now. As such I suppose it is probably necessary at this point to go to some extremes with marketing strategies, just in order to even be noticed in the modern market places these days. So on one hand I understand a lot of the hype that is happening, on the other hand it often seems that reason and balance have been lost somewhere along the way and replaced with irrationality and nimiety. I watched the movie “Forks Over Knives” some time back, and while I get the points they are wanting to make, I do not like the way the title attempts to make one of man's oldest and most useful tools, the knife, out to be the bad guy of the scenario. I don't appreciate their chosen slant because I know very well that knives, just like any other hand-tool made and used by man, do not act autonomously and can do absolutely nothing of their own free will. Any knife, even an electric one, can only ever perform a task which it has been set to by the person wielding it.

I grew up gardening, hunting, and fishing as our family's means of keeping ourselves fed. I also spent a lot of time working on a small family owned cattle farm, so between my early upbringing and my later becoming a professional survival and wilderness skills instructor, I am a devout omnivore. So yes, among the uses I put my knives to, slicing meats is one of them. I prefer to slice my bacon, lunch meats, and cheeses myself for the same reasons I prefer to slice my own tomatoes. Because they keep longer, retain more flavor, and travel better that way.

Yet meats are certainly not the only foods I use my knives to prepare, in fact meats don't even come close to constituting a majority of the foods I prepare on a daily basis. While I am certainly no vegetarian, I am also not a carnivore by any stretch of the imagination. I would personally find an all meat diet to be very boring. Having grown up eating a lot of fresh vegetables during the growing season, most meats being a luxury we couldn't afford a lot of during the recession of the 70s and dressing game while fending off biting flies and stinging bees not being very appealing to me, I developed a deep appreciation for fresh vegetables at an early age. Not only for their ease of acquisition, health and nutritional benefits, but also for the diverse array of savory flavors as well.

Being a “soup person” myself, I find that when it comes to eating I often prefer spoons over forks or knives. Yet quite some time before it will be ready to eat, I will be using a knife to cut the fresh ingredients into more manageable sizes to cook and bite sized pieces for easier consumption. One of the most valuable lessons I learned in my youth was that while a whole chicken and a few bunches of vegetables could feed 6 to 8 people pretty well, by taking those exact same ingredients and turning it into a big pot of soup, we could feed twice as many, or those same 6 to 8 for two days rather than one.

My oldest daughter and I share some common opinions on many of the modern animal husbandry practices, and we share a lot of the same concerns about the various chemicals involved. The route I chose long ago was to be more selective in what companies I support. I don't eat large quantities of meat as is, so I take a quality over quantity approach and spend a little more on better quality products. She on the other hand, during the early days of her adulthood and limited income, chose to become a vegan. In childhood her favorite meats were seafood, and when she later developed an allergy it wasn't difficult for her to just cut out the other meats all together. Yet even when I am hanging out at her house and we are cooking together, I find that both of us much prefer cutting up the various fruits, vegetables, herbs, and nuts with a knife over tearing and breaking them into bits with our bare hands.

If you take a look at the various cultures of the world, you will notice a couple of things to be true. The primary foods consumed in both the poorest and the most physically healthy cultures, are fruits and vegetables much more so than meats. These same cultures also still retain the most knowledge of the use of knives. Both in the kitchen, and out of doors, out in the fields and woods, and rivers. So be wary what hype you fall for, as hype as a general rule is nearly always agenda driven.


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