Thought About Food Podcast

Paul Thompson on The Future of Farming

March 28, 2021

This episode we spoke with Paul Thompson about some of the possible futures for farming in the US.

Show Notes:

  • Follow us on Twitter at @FoodThoughtPod, and you can drop us a line at ThoughtAboutFood on Gmail. Leave us a review! It helps people find the show.
  • Paul Thompson holds the W.K. Kellogg Chair in Agricultural, Food & Community Ethics at Michigan State University
  • Paul has written a number of excellent books, including From Field to Fork, and his new book Sustainability: What Everyone Needs to Know
  • Paul shared a recipe for migas; check out the recipe because he included a great story at the end:

    "Here’s a recipe for migas.
    1 cup chopped onions;
    2 cloves minced garlic;
    1 medium tomato chopped;
    4-6 tomatillos, chopped;
    ½ to 1 ½ cup chopped peppers (jalapenos, poblanos, serranos, anaheims—your choice depending on desired heat—in pinch I’ll use green peppers, but I won’t like it);
    8 eggs, lightly beaten;
    2 cups broken corn chips (not too small)
    1½ cup mild melting cheese (Colby jack, you add queso fresco, too, but you need a good melter); peanut or safflower oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet.

    Heat skillet and saute the peppers, onions, garlic and tomatillos

    Lower heat and add eggs, stirring constantly. When the mixture starts to thicken add chips and continue to stir; after all chips are covered add cheese and keep stirring. When the eggs are solid (but not rubbery) turn off the heat, add the tomato, stir briskly and cover. They will be ready to eat in two minutes. Serve with tortillas. Some people add chorizo, but I’m usually cooking for a vegetarian or two (not vegan, obviously) and I’ve come to prefer it without meat.

    Here’s a story to go with the recipe: One of legendary San Antonio restaurants is Mi Tierra, open 24 hours a day in Market Square next to the wholesale farmers market. When I first started going there in the early 80s, breakfast between 5:00 am and 9:00am was their busy time. I always ordered their chiliquiles and fresh squeezed orange juice. (It’s mentioned in Gary P. Nunn’s “What I Like about Texas”.) As Market Square has become more and more of a tourist destination, Mi Tierra has  been upgraded several times and they introduced a simplified and gringofied menu. Now you stand in line anytime between 11:00 am and midnight. When I was there eating alone at 7:00 am in about 2005, the place was almost deserted, but there was a table of about eight mid-30s white guys pestering the waitress with numerous questions about the menu (which no longer mentioned either chiliquiles or fresh squeezed orange juice). When the poor waitress got to me I said I’ll have chililquiles and fresh orange juice. She just wrote it down and didn’t say a thing. Before she could get back to me with my food (and Yes, I did get chiliquiles and fresh orange juice), a gentleman with a graying mustache at the table near mine poked me on the shoulder and said, “We don’t need no stinking menus!”


    One of the great moments in my life.


    You can get into the difference between migas and chiliquiles, but as you probably know, there are about as many theories on that as there are on barbeque, and like barbeque, everyone is completely convinced that their theory is the right one.

  • The intro and outro music is "Whiskey Before Breakfast" which is both a great traditional song and a nice thing to keep you occupied while you make those migas. It was performed and shared by The Dan River Ramblers under a Creative Commons license.

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