Dining out was once so simple. You sat down in a restaurant, ordered whatever sounded good, ate it, and went on with your life. Now you need an advanced degree in epidemiology before you’re qualified to choose an entrée. Every day, we get bombarded with health warnings about food: too much added sugar will kill you if excess salt doesn’t get you first. Menus are loaded with politically charged, often slippery buzzwords: “sustainable,” “organic,” “locally grown,” “free range,” “grass fed,” “genetically modified,” “farm raised.” Go ahead and order red meat, but that cow had best been raised on tall-stem Texas blue grass handpicked by a nun.
Many area producers and restaurateurs have their hearts in the right place, but I can’t help but be suspicious of some who tout ingredients as “organic” or “local.” This is Texas. There is no such thing as a locally grown tomato in January. Organic is even more confusing. If your butterhead lettuce was sprayed with an “organic” pesticide such as a bacterial toxin or pyrethrum or rotenone, can it really be considered organic?