As I’ve done this week, Egan uses the story of Stephanie Smith’s paralysis caused by E. coli in a hamburger to touch on bigger issues.
Egan describes the beauty of the Yakima Valley, especially during the early fall when the region’s apples, pears and grapes are at their most flavorful. He contrasts this bounty with the system that sickened Smith. “[A]s the Cargill E. coli episode proved once again, cheap food can come with a terrible price.”
But Egan believes that an innate force draws us to Mother Nature:
"A restorative of sorts is at hand this time of year. Barely 1 percent of all Americans work the land year-round as farmers, but still something in us needs a harvest. Every now and then, we have to see our food, if only to preserve the illusion that this good earth can keep us well."