HUFFINGTON POST
01/03/2011 08:35 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

A Vow For 2011: No Cheap Chicken

So this, then, is my omnivore's dilemma: Which is more important to me? To stop having my money support chicken that is mass-produced at unbelievable scale, poisoning the earth and water for hundreds of miles, that is treated brutally, that goes through a disassembly line so fast and furious that it injures 1 out of every 3 poorly paid workers who works on it? Or to keep supporting Mr. Charles, to share in his chicken, to know what his work means to him? To have that chance to meet the many Charles Gabriels, the taco truck cooks and the noodle shop owners and all the other working-class cooks whose cuisines I adore and whose stories I want to hear and help tell?

In a way, it would be simpler to do the tougher thing: give up eating chicken (or, really, any other meat) entirely. Or I could make sure that I only buy chicken that is raised well. Both of these are important practices of discipline, and the idea of discipline is straightforward: You set a line, it's clear, and you work towards not crossing it.

Read more on Francis Lam at Salon.com