Pilaf with light sweet crude

No, we’re not running out of rice in the U.S. We are particularly not running out of rice in California, where we grow it. We’re also not running out of wheat. If the Costco isn’t selling you rice, they probably messed up their order and some junior manager is lying to you about rationing.

The price of food is indeed high and rising. People in less fortunate countries are rioting because they can’t afford to eat. Here in the U.S., poor people are being squeezed. People like me don’t even notice because we make good money.

This is a good time to think about what you eat. It’s an even better time to take a good look at where the food comes from, how it’s produced, and how it’s distributed. As usual, the root problems are about money: farm subsidies, water subsidies, tariffs, big agricultural companies who control all of those things, and bad government all over the world.

And in the U.S. particularly it’s about oil. Because you can’t grow food the way we do without artificial fertilizer, which is made of energy. And once we have all that bounty of soy and corn, we have to sell it somehow. And so we convert it into ethanol and celebrate our new energy, free from foreign oil! …that’s made from foreign oil. And up go the grain prices.

For me the threat is not rice rationing at the supermarket. The threat is endless war to keep our own food prices low with cheap oil.

Funny how it comes back there every time!

15 thoughts on “Pilaf with light sweet crude

  1. *applauds wildly*
    A friend just asked me today why DARPA funds alternative energy research. Someone in the defense department knows the current situation is unsustainable.


  2. Well, they’re rationing rice in some Chicago stores now, and jacking up the prices elsewhere. Something is up – perhaps the rice trade smells a sucker.


    1. Some ideas, more or less out of nowhere:
      – Plant a garden of stuff you buy frequently and learn how to take care of it without petroleum-derived chemicals. (Usually this means lots of shoveling cow-shit.) At the end of WW2, thanks to “victory gardens” in backyards, the US grew 40% of its produce outside the commercial food market.
      – Buy food that was grown as close to you as possible. This usually means participating in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program (google it). Basically, you invest in a local farm at the beginning of the season, and they give you produce back— in season, and in gracious plenty.
      – With a little work, learn what food is in season where you live, and eat that. If you want to still be eating tomatoes in December (and you don’t live in California), learn to can/freeze/etc stuff while it’s in season. This is an advanced exercise but worth doing.
      – Read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It’ll change the way you think about food.


      1. Thanks for the tips!
        We considered CSA last year but the amount of money was to great to dole out all at once for us ($164 a month). I need to look into it again now that we might be able to swing it.
        I do live in CA, and the only good thing about that is tomatoes. 😉


      2. Good stuff. Michael Pollan’s recent NY Times article pushed gardens as well.
        We have lots of local good produce (truck farm type) here, which is fortunate, as well as eggs etc. It’s a suburb 30 miles from farms, basically.


  3. Villainy is right. Just living in this yuppie/old money area of town makes me sick. These people wouldn’t give up the croutons on their grilled caesar salads for someone hungry because it would be giving a certain amount of their hard earned cash (or actual food substances) to someone else. I don’t understand it at all. Are people afraid that people are going to mistake them for a homeless person, if they help out? Bleah.


      1. Thinking now in an actually daytime brain function, I guess I mean that villainy just covers so many parts of the world now, in small ways and in big ways. We try to do things that we can, and hope other people do, but bleah, it seems like not enough, and hoping seems almost frivolous.
        p.s. caesar tastes better with crushed garlic. =D


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