episode 34 :: bacon does not grow on trees

episode 34

Today, we’re discussing life (and death) on the farm, and the truth about what must happen to those cute little farm animals in order for us to eat them. Some of you may find it difficult, but it’s necessary and a reminder of how important it is to stay in touch with farm-to-table eating.

We start with a great “bedtime” foodie story from Bon Appetit Magazine, read to you by your dearest Uncle Phillie (complete with bedtime soundtrack music, so grab your bankie).

Later, we finish with an audio recap of an episode of Gordon Ramsey’s show “The F Word” where he takes two pigs that he’s been raising in his back yard all season for slaughter.

How’s that for incongruity?

Listen to episode 34 here.

In this episode:
• “The Road To River Cottage” by Hugh Garvey (courtesy of Bon Appetit)
“The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009” is the end to Farmers Markets
• Food Magazines – which do you read?
• Kobe Beef in the US? Nope! Wagyu, and why it’s next best thing.
• Gordon Ramsey’s “The F Word” – possibly the best food show on television.

Music in this episode by Seether and Tipper. Download these songs in the iTunes store for 99 cents each.


  1. Very very interesting!!

  2. huge thanks for the shout-out, phil!
    i feel like a mini-celebrity, and not because i’m short!

    that website, for anyone interested: http://www.nikenji.wordpress.com

    and GREAT show! you should do audio books, phil.
    has anyone else read the cottage hill meat cookbook? it might turn even the most die-hard peta person’s mind about meat. not just because the recipes are great, but most of the book reads like that bon appetit article and the story about ramsey. it’s really about respect and reverence about the animal, like what we are trying to do. that kind of thinking, respectfulness, and love of life and what comes from this earth is what is going to save this place, i think. family farms, home-cooking, home-brewing, artisan cheese, artisan everything, that is what will bubble up in our communities and raise our wealth and empower us again. and on the opposite end of the spectrum, which boiled my blood too, that HR 875 bill. probably birthed by greed, but fueled by fear, about “food safety”. i’ll be on board fighting this too.
    okay, off my little rant.

    great show, important stuff, i’ll be telling everyone i was on my favorite podcast! 🙂

    ps. i grab gourmet every once and a while, and bon appetit has gotten really interesting in the last two years i think. i remember a magazine “gastronomy” or something like that, that the chef in the restaurant i work at years ago read, and it was great. wish i could remember…

  3. Loved this show Phil. The story from Bon Appetit was great and you did a great job reading it. Not sure if it qualifies as a bed time story, but it did get the point across.

    That new bill in the house (or senate?) sounds like something that could pass quickly. And from the sounds of it, it won’t affect larger farms believe it or not. I read recently that the large agri-businesses where most of the junk food comes from don’t have to register their hords of animals because they have too many. Farmers already have ear tag systems that you can either use pencil and paper or you can use a computer to register the buying and selling of food. This is just another excuse for a feeding frenzy by our friendly government. And, it won’t reduce the problems with food born diseases in those large agri-businesses.


  4. Thanks for your comments!

    Nik, I appreciate you posting the link to your blog. I couldn’t remember the URL for the life of me. I have not read or heard of the cottage hill meat cookbook, but any cookbook with the word meat in the title has to rock, right? Thanks for chiming in on which magazines you read. I was interested to know, just because.

    I appreciate what you said about the respectfulness of ingredients, because that is exactly what this is about. Sure we love life, but we’re also not naive enough to think that what we’re eating wasn’t once a living, breathing being. Somewhere along the line, people have lost sight of that.

    Ray, thanks for your comments on the new FSA bill. It’s still unclear how dramatic it’s going to be. I think I was more fired up than I should have been about that, but we’ll see. From the way it reads, it definitely targets any farm or facility that handles food. We know how little money these community farms make, so one more squeeze and it’s curtains for the lot of them.

  5. Great show… Who’s that new producer guy??? Beeping ya and playing that Heavy Metal… He sounds conflicted!

    As a member of your Midwestern listening group… I can assure you we know where the “beef” or “pork” is coming from! As a matter of fact… I always go out of my way to let the kids know they are eating a pig, cow or whatever just so they understand whats on the plate. Mom really hates that!

    Love the Libertarian rant you had the Food Bill… I was not aware of it… But I can imagine the local markets have to be abuzz with this. We have been out of the loop for farmers markets over winter… But it will be interesting to see if conversation picks up with the spring weather.

    Keep up the good work!

  6. Dear Phil,

    It has been a long time since I have written. I fell on hard times last year but I am finally back. The crisis saw me losing my job and getting rehired, finally in January, as something completely outside of my training. I used to be a software engineer, now I am an Instructor. Wow.

    To give you your just kudos. You, and please do not be modest, are one of the contributing factors to keep me going and my spirits up. Your podcasts and excellent presentation/ production of one of my favourite subjects kept my spirits up and bad thoughts away. I looked forward to when your shows came up with an incomparable happiness. Sounds a bit gay, but I am glad you helped me through this hard time.

    Well, enough of that. I was a bit shocked to hear about what they are proposing to do with your farmers markets. In Germany, farmer’s markets are an untouchable tradition and one of the few untaxed incomes left. Although I am not German I cannot help but respect that. One of the few places you can find fresh, local produce during the winter is there. Yes, they do have quite a bit of greenhouse, albeit expensive, produce you can be assured it is fresh and has not been handled in uncontrolled hands.

    I loved the bedtime story, one that held my attention and I am a huge fan of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. He is the person who inspired me to get chickens and grow my little garden plot (which is now taking over more and more of my garden). Great stuff, and I happened to be working on the garden so I could plant some spinach.

    Thank you Phil,


  7. Hi Kirk

    Thank you for that incredibly thoughtful comment. I don’t want to get all sappy here, so I sent you an email. Know that I appreciate every word of that, I’m happy you’re back on your feet, and proud to know that the show kept your attention on happy thoughts while you went your rough patch. I cannot imagine how hard that must have been for you.

    Cheers, and thanks again.


  8. Phil,

    I must applaud you because yours is the first podcast I’ve discovered that has not only caught and kept my attention, but also caused me to snort with laughter out loud on a sardine-packed train on my way home from work. So, thanks for that.

    As a new listener I am a little behind, but I’m downloading all the old episodes and catching up quickly. I really enjoyed this last episode, even though it made me jealous of all you Californians who have such easy access to amazingly fresh produce year round. There aren’t a whole lot of impressive farmers’ markets in Chicago- especially during the winter. I was curious as to whether or not you knew of any in the Chicago Metro area? (I realize this is a strange question since you live 2000 miles away, but you seem to have more foodie connections than I do.)

    In response to your query about food magazines, I also subscribe to Bon Appetit, and I love it. When a new issue comes I go through it and mark the recipes I want to try with Post-It tabs, a practice which never fails to evoke ridicule from my boyfriend. He’s a foodie too, he’s just not as organized as I am. I agree that the Food Network magazine seems to be a giant glossy ad for their television personalities, but I’ve recently heard good things about Gourmet magazine. Comments?

    Thank you again for spicing up my commute.


  9. Hey Phil,

    Another great show. Always entertaining and full of information. You’re putting out one of the more entertaining podcasts available. Sometimes I’ll sit in my car an extra few minutes just to finish a segment, if not the whole thing, because I always wonder what you’re going to say next.

    Regarding magazines, my wife takes Real Simple, Cooking Light, Food & Wine, and sometimes she’ll pick up Gourmet if there’s anything interesting on the cover.

    Keep up the great work.


  10. Gizelle, thank you for your more than kind words. 🙂 I’m always happy to know that there are listeners, especially those who take the time to comment. Thanks for chiming in on the food magazine survey too. I was really interested in hearing what magazines those of you find interesting enough to read on a regular basis.

    Chicago is a big beautiful city, and is one of my favorite cities in our entire country (next to New York). You can find a lot of Farmers Markets there, since it’s so big. Go here first – http://states.farmersmarket.com/1/category/il/page/4 and if you don’t see any that are near you there, try here – http://states.farmersmarket.com/1/category/il/page/5 or here – http://states.farmersmarket.com/1/category/il/page/6

    Dan, I appreciate your comments as well. Again, I’m trying to keep things interesting and I’m glad to hear feedback like this. Also, thanks for your magazine list. My wife also takes Real Simple and there are plenty of great recipes in that magazine as well. They’re simple recipes that call for simple ingredients, always fresh. My kind of recipe.

    Cheers and thanks again to all of you for your feedback. It means a lot to me.


  11. Damn, almost made it all the way through then I wimped out. That guy was good to his pigs. I don’t think I could raise them then eat them. I’ll do what I do so I can pay them to do what they do instead. I love the graphic you used though “Pig – good, good, good, very good…” 🙂

    Great job reading too. It’s harder then it sounds – the back drop music was a nice touch.

  12. I agree with nikenji. you should do books.

    I worked in a butcher shop from ages 14-16. You want an eye opening experience as a kid. I couldn’t stand meat for almost 2 weeks. I did get an appreciation for food from there. Dad, who grew up on a farm, thought it would be a good way for me to get an understanding since the area we lived in were sans farmlands.

    I would be PISSED if I lost my Farmers Market. Just because of the kickass produce but also the event of shopping. We like going around talking to the farmers and asking questions. We like the people we see and look forward to taking Teaspoon when he’s older.

    Lushie subscribes to Taste of Home and I usually pick up something if it looks interesting at the book store. I think she’s getting Food Networks also. She used to have gourmet & Paula Deen’s but i havent seen it in awhile.

    good show phil!

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