Welcome to Pandora's Box

You're cordially invited to take a peek into Pandora's Box.

The intent of this blog is to inspire critical, logical, and free thinkers to join in on the discourse which will address topics such as; Agriculture, Agribusiness, Tourism, Human and Animal Rights, Cultural Diversity, Organic Cooking, Wining and Dining, World Religions, Philosophy, or anything else that might just "pop" out of Pandora's Box!

I would love for you to join me in the never-ending journey to enlightment, love, and the pursuit of purpose.

Peace Out,
Carla Jean

Thursday, July 22, 2010

To V or not to V?

One of Pandora's Preferred Blogs - All Naturale - features actress Kate Winslet exposing the cruelty of Foie Gras. Mainly out of curiosity to find out just what the heck Foie Gras was, I watched the video explaining about the goose liver and how it's made. Not pretty, not pretty at all. Force-feeding geese (gavage) to enlarge their livers with a metal tube 3x a day is just wrong. Plain and simple.
Under the video's comments, "Powers of Nature" suggested that one look at the alternative, humane, way to make foie gras. PON included a link to TED, so once again out of curiosity I clicked.

TED is an acronym for Technology, Entertainment, and Design and is a small nonprofit whose tag line is Ideas Worth Sharing. I'm all about sharing ideas. Thus the blog. Granted, I may be sharing ideas with myself initially. But the whole point of writing in Pandora's Box is to have an outlet that allows me to express my thoughts and ideas freely.

Back on the Farm... I watched Dan Barber's foie gras parable. To quote TED's website, "Dan Barber is a chef and a scholar -- relentlessly pursuing the stories and reason behind the foods we grow and eat". Barber's interview with the "goose whisperer" is testament that there are humane alternatives to produce food for those who choose to consume meat. My hubby eats meat and I have no quams buying it for him, as long as I know where the meat came from. Before going to the Austin Downtown Farmer's Market last weekend, I did my homework and got to "know" my farmers beforehand.

I purchased:
1 lb of breakfast sausage from Kocurek Family Charcuterir
1 lb. of ground beef from Homestead Farm located in Waco and
1 N.Y. Strip and 1 lb. ofChili Meat from SMS Ranch in Fredricksburg

Happy Meat = Happy Wife = Happy Husband.

I respectfully found Barber's talk at the Taste3 conference, hopeful. Hopeful on many levels. Hopeful for humans, hopeful for animals, and hopeful for the future of this planet.After listening to both sides of the issue, Kate's and Dan's, I wanted to know the opinions of others, so I read the comments. Amazing, but not surprising.

As a newbie to vegetarianism, I have learned that being one brings out a defense mechanism in many who are not. The V's vs O's (Vegans vs Omnivores) debate is all too reminiscent, especially the tone, of religious or political debate. Everyone trying to prove that they alone possess absolute sovereignty on THE truth. As Winnie the Pooh would say, "Oh bother".

My philosophy guides me to believe that every individual is on their own path to enlightenment. Don't rush me on my journey, and I won't rush you. Diversity is necessary to accomplish balance. There will always be two extremes but I believe that polar opposites create harmony. The whole yin and yang thing.

So, for today I am a vegan. I've always found my balance by beginning at an extreme. Then by weighing outside information with my inner-being , I find my center. Wonder if being a Libra has anything to do with this whole balance act? Hummm....

Peace Out ~ Carla Jean

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fresh Food Beginnings

After several weeks of locker room discussions about food, (common topic in a ladies locker room), a woman suggested that I read "Skinny Bitch- A no-nonsense, tough-love guide for savvy girls who want to stop eating crap and start looking fabulous!" by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. I immediately downloaded the book into my new IPad (grad gift from hubby), and swiftly swiped my finger across the screen in record timing. I would suggest for anyone who would like to read Skinny Bitch to also dig deeper into the recommended reading and the sources consulted.

My new gal pal asked, "So, did your eating choices change after reading the book?". I replied, "Yeah, it's all your fault". She responded, "I think I've created a monster". We both laughed because now between the four of us who are on the same morning schedule, she is the only meat eater left in the bunch, but I think that might change soon.

The book has nothing to do with being skinny - although that is a byproduct of not eating fat-laden foods - or is it about being a bitch. Freedman and Barnouin slaps the facts about factory farming, genetically modified foods, the USDA, food chemicals, and a list of other disturbing food topics in your face without apology.

I got it. I began my research and discovered that there were important choices to be made and these choices would not only affect me, but also those in my concentric circle.

Next awakening: I don't exactly remember how I ran across the All Naturale website, but I believed it was destined. Food Inc. was waiting and I was ready.
That sealed the deal for me. If you haven't viewed this documentary on the food industry, you can go to All Naturale and view it for free.

So... here I sit at my desk eating some strange prepared dish from Snap Kitchen called "Spicy Sambal Tofu". To quote Snap Kitchen, "We are dedicated to bringing our customers flavorful, handcrafted food that supports our commitment to local, organic ingredients and healthy cooking."

In my wildest dreams would have I ever imagined I'd even try a dish with an ingredients list that was comprised of; cabbage, portabella, mushrooms, green beans, carrots, edamame, sesame oil, soy sauce, and lime juice. The dish is living up to its name, my mouth is on fire, and I'm luvin' it!

Peace Out ~ Carla

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Opening Pandora's Box- Day One

In pursuit of all things pure and true, I have decided to invite all those who are free, critical, and logical thinkers to share their opinions and knowledge concerning any number of topics that might pop out of Pandora's box.

I'm not sure if the evolution that is taking place in my life is due to spiritual or mental growth or if I'm just plain going through a mid-life crisis, as I am quickly approaching the proverbial "hill".

Nonetheless, I aspire to share what has been brewing in my brain and what has begun to burden my soul in hopes that I might deter my never-ending need to share with those around me. I've just got a funny feeling that I'm starting to drive them crazy~

During my much belated education, the world around me expanded ten fold. Fascinated by philosophy, indigenous people, cultural diversity, world religions, and the current state of our environment - minus the wretched algebra and finance classes- I discovered how important is it to bridge the gaps and abandon the sterotypes that I've learned during the first half of life.

Recently, I've become a vegetarian which has opened up a whole new world of choices on my behalf. As an ostrich can only stick his/her head in the sand for so long, I finally have come up to breath. The air is good but it is what remains on the ground that needs some serious help - much reference to agribuisness, government, and close-minded individuals.

During my new quest as a "granola girl", I wish to take those who are experienced,as well as those who are curious, along the journey with me. I welcome any and all comments, advice, and resourceful information from the blogging community and will try my best to recriprocate.

With that said, I end my first post quoting T.S. Eliot, "We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and to know the place for the first time".