Today there are about 9.4 million dairy cows in this country, generating more than 25 billion gallons of milk per year. If much of this staggering output is the consequence of a misguided belief in the virtue and necessity of lifelong milk consumption, and if our kids don’t want to drink milk, and if many immigrant communities don’t want to drink milk, and if adults generally would prefer a seltzer, beer, or oat-milk latte, then a reckoning is surely in store to wipe the mustache off our face.
Now Britain is filled with marvelous food from all over the world (including France). Without David, there would be no Ottolenghi, no Jamie Oliver, no Fergus Henderson and his nose-to-tail take on classic English food… but wait! Does the existence of “classic English food” mean there was interesting food in Britain all along?
This is the problem with attributing a food revolution to a single person. Elizabeth David taught the British readers of the 1950s that there was a wonderful world of food beyond the English Channel. But it was Jane Grigson who taught them to appreciate what they already had. Or, as Grigson wrote in the introduction to the 1979 edition of her 1974 book English Food, “English cooking — both historically and in the mouth — is a great deal more varied and delectable than our masochistic temper in this matter allows.”
Morality is objective, but it neither requires nor admits of a foundation. It just kind of floats there, along with the evaluative realm more generally, unsupported by anything else. Parts of it can be explained by other parts, but the entirety of the web or network of good and evil is brute. Maybe you think that’s weird and even worthy of outright dismissal. I once thought the same thing.
Eating now is a complex process wrapped in fear, burdens, and only occasional joy. I’ve often related to the phrase “the personal is political,” and my experiences with food, while deeply personal, are political. In fact, many of my issues with food are rooted in centuries of colonialist food practices that have displaced Indigenous food sources, polluted the land and water, and enforced racist, ableist, sexist, and classist hierarchies.
Every place I inhabit enriches my life and makes me feel like a child again, wondering about all the daily differences I notice. Regret comes only when I think of our stuff in storage. I wish I’d gotten rid of more when I had the chance.
But as Wasson’s narrative builds, something that he asserts early in the book — that “Apocalypse Now” is “the paragon of Zoetrope-style filmmaking” — begins to make more sense. Every great Coppola film, Wasson says, is essentially an autobiographical exercise that unfolded in real time. “Apocalypse,” in which Coppola manufactured an expensive jungle war to reflect his own tortured, high-stakes artistic process, is the apotheosis of the filmmaker’s method, but it’s hardly the only example.