I know what you’re thinking, “Who cares what celebrities say about anything?” I get it. Most celebrity musings on food, agriculture or politics are just drivel.
But here’s the thing – celebrities say stupid stuff and people believe it. That’s a problem for you. When celebrities wander away from poolside to share their thoughts, they often – whether intentional or not – contribute to the misinformation about food and farmers.
“I'll eat eggs from chickens I know — if they are in someone's backyard and they're wandering around and they're happy."
That’s a quote from comedian and game show host Ellen DeGeneres. I can visualize a lot of our city friends reading that and thinking, “Yeah, that sounds right.”
But if you’re like me that 20-word quote produces at least three immediate questions for Ellen. Like, do you have to be introduced to the chickens before you’ll eat their eggs? Seriously, how many of your Beverly Hills neighbors have chickens in their backyards? And third, how, exactly, do you judge a chicken to be happy?
OK, so that third question has a serious answer. Farmers know when their chickens or cows are “happy,” or content as we prefer to say. But I doubt many of Ellen’s fans would know. And few of them – if any – have ever watched a pen rider sort out a steer that’s going to be sick tomorrow.
"I had a piece of salmon and my brain felt like a computer rebooting."
That’s the confession of actress Anne Hathaway, who became a vegan in 2011 when she was trying to lose weight for a movie character. But when filming “Interstellar” in Iceland in 2014, the role was so physically demanding she fell off the vegan bandwagon.
Most of Hathaway’s days filming that movie were spent in a 40-pound space suit, and after eating fish for dinner one night she "just felt better." She added that when she was following a vegan diet she "just didn't feel good or healthy, not strong."
OK, so I agree with that last comment about feeling healthier on a diet that includes meat. But I guess I’ve never eaten salmon and felt like my brain was rebooting. Maybe I’m not eating the right kind of salmon.
Unfortunately, we can’t do much about celebrity babblings that plant silly seeds of ignorance in consumers’ minds.
We can, however, relish in some of the common-sense celebrity food quotes, rare as they may be. I especially like the following two.
“Soup is just a way of screwing you out of a meal.” – Jay Leno, former host of The Tonight Show.
“Being a vegan is a first-world phenomenon, completely self-indulgent.” – The late Anthony Bourdain, author, chef and TV host.