From Tree to Table



“What’s healthier?” Son asked while sitting at the kitchen counter one afternoon dipping his chicken nuggets into ketchup. “Nuggets or apple slices?” His apple was getting less attention.

“Well,” I began. “Let’s talk about that.”

Husband has been reading In Defense of Food by Michael Pollen which talks about eating food close to the earth and something your grandmother would recognize. Nuggets? Not on the list. Apple? Goes back to Adam and Eve. Close to the top.

“It’s good to eat food that’s close to the earth. Do you know what that means?”

He shook his head.

We discussed how an apple travels from the tree to his mouth. Not far if he’s picking it at the orchard in October. Only a few more steps if someone else picks it, packs it, drives it to the store, and we buy it.

“Nuggets on the other hand – they cut up the chicken, then mash it with other things and turn it into these little pieces and add chemicals to keep it fresh.”

“Chemicals?” he looked up from his plate, nugget perched in mid-air.

“Food has to stay on the shelf or freezer in the store for awhile so they add preservatives and chemicals to keep it okay until we eat it. They’re also what make it taste good. But they’re bad for you.”

He nodded and popped the rest of the nugget into his mouth.

“So what do you think is healthier?” I asked him.

“The apple.”

“Exactly.” I returned to my magazine.

“Can I have some more?” he asked a few moments later.

I looked up, distracted. “Of what?”

“Those chemical things,” he said and pointed to the remaining nuggets on the cookie sheet.

I guess he got the point.

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