Posted: Saturday, December 1, 2012 4:34:28 AM
At the beginning of my eighth grade year, I received a list of required books that were part of the curriculum. Little did I realize that there was a book on that list that would actually change, shape and mold my future as well as my children’s future.
That book was Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.
The actual details and words bound between the covers have long since faded in my mind, but the memory and impression of my feelings and thoughts while reading that book have lasted a lifetime.
After reading the book, I vowed never to touch another hot dog again. Eight years later, when I had my first child, I made the choice never to allow my children to eat hot dogs unless the circumstances were such that there was no choice.
Moving forward, when I became a chef, I made a point to learn about the meat packing industry and where our beef, pork and other livestock come from, how they are processed for consumption, and what regulations were in place to make sure that the products were safe.
I was so adamant that when my children were preschoolers, we stopped at a farm in Wisconsin while on vacation so they could learn about the life of a cow from a real farm and speak to a real farmer.
Today, I still adhere to that promise I made to myself. I do not eat hot dogs unless it is the only option available. I have gone on a first date to a hot dog joint and it turned out to be the only date. Better educated and aware of the regulations and health standards involved in the meat packing industry, I still see hot dogs as the enemy.
This book changed my life by changing the way I look at food, fed my children, and the importance of knowing where your food comes from before you actually consume it.