Eating Local 2007: What Does Halal Mean?

After posting my essay on the subject of eating locally as a spiritual practice, I thought it would be nice to feature some posts by other authors that describe their personal experiences and thoughts on the intersection between food and spirituality in their own lives.

And then, I promptly got involved in making noodles, playing with Kat, planning a little first birthday get together for her and getting my new laptop up and running, and sadly forgot.

So, then I sat down at my laptop today and saw to my surprise that my friend Heather, who is not only an articulate and precise writer, is also a devoted Muslim and a scholar of Islam. Her essay is so good, I really want you all to go to her blog and read it, because not only does it explain the Islamic laws governing how meat animals are to be treated, it is a critical look at how this is practiced in today’s world. Heather gives us her own personal interpretation on the practice of halal and how she works, as a consumer, to promote healthier, cleaner and more human practices of animal husbandry.

Heather and I have had long conversations in the kitchen and dining room over the shameful state in which most meat animals are raised and treated in this country, and what we as consumers can do about it. We’ve also traded books back and forth, ideas and recipes, so I was thrilled to see that she had finally put all of her thoughts in regards to the subject on her blog this morning. (And I hope to see more of her writings in the future, because she is such a good writer and her point of view is both unique and relevant, that I want to see her get her thoughts out there.)

So, without further ado, let me introduce my friend Heather Irwin, and her essay, “Is Halal Meat Halal? (or, Why I Care About a Cow?)


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  1. Thank you for directing me to Heather’s blog. It was really informative!
    I am currently blogging about a localvore challange here in Chicago. We are attempting to eat ONLY local foods for a week. I am realizing every day the ways that this is important for me and the local farmers.

    Comment by Erin — September 13, 2007 #

  2. What a fascinating essay. I’ve never really understood religious dietary restrictions (being a lapsed Catholic), so this was quite an eye-opener.

    Thank you for the link!

    Comment by Jim — September 13, 2007 #

  3. Hey, Erin–I am glad to hear that you liked Heather’s essay–I thought it would be a great thing for my readers to take a look at.

    We eat mostly local foods here all the time–all of our meat is local, most of our dairy products, and our vegetables and fruits. Some of our grain products are, except for rice, of course. Rice doesn’t exactly grow in Ohio.

    Jim–glad you liked it.

    Comment by Barbara — September 18, 2007 #

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