Nightline's Last Interview With Paul Newman

Between his many charitable efforts and now the restaurant, Newman has his plate full in many ways. Fellow actor and friend Robert Redford has said that Newman has the "attention span of a bolt of lightning."

Newman laughed off that description.

"Actually, I think that I'm the exact opposite of that. I have an extraordinary attention span. I manage to juggle two or three different ideas at the same time, and that's probably, if I have a gift, that's probably the best gift that's given me."

The Battle of the Pickle

Newman confesses he came to organic food slowly, persuaded by his daughter Nell, who now runs Newman's Own Organics.

"She was way ahead of the curve," he said. "It wasn't something I thought I had to pay attention to, but I certainly do now."

Newman's daughter also introduced him to his chef, Michel Nischan. They hit it off right away.

And while Nischan has control of the menu, Newman did insist on one item. A 22 percent fat hamburger. Naturally, it's his favorite item on the menu.

"That's what I had for lunch," he said.

And while the two say they get along like gangbusters, they do confess to one ongoing battle -- the battle of the pickle.

"The pickle has been a challenge," admitted Nischan. "I like fresher pickles -- pickled or cured for a shorter period of time. Paul really loves the sour pickles and he's really gotten me to come along to his way of thinking, which has nothing to do with the blueness of his eyes."

Newman is the victor in this debate, but he said Nischan wins everything else.

Newman's Full Plate

While offering dining staples like cheeseburgers and pickles, one item has remained noticeably missing -- steak.

"We do steak from time to time," Nischan explained, "but if you look at a dressed weight carcass of a steer at about 1,000 to 1,200 pounds, only 70 to 100 pounds of that total dressed weight carcass is steak."

Nischan said the seemingly insatiable American demand for steak is fueling dangerous and unhealthy ways of raising beef cattle.

"The leverage of that market created a system of animal agriculture that is environmentally unsound, actually destructive and very unkind to the animals that are trapped in the system. And [it's] not good for animal health and human health," he said.

"[When] you look at the way that the animals are raised, what's done with their manure for the sake of the efficiency of raising many, many … animals in a small area, there's a tremendous amount of toxins that are produced. When you liquefy manure it becomes an unusual toxin."

He said that is what happens when beef cows are not feed what they are designed to eat, namely, grass.

The Tenderhearted Meat Eaters

Nischan said the basis of any food relationship is knowing who you are getting the food from and knowing their practices. In many cases, it's good to go directly to the supplier to see for yourself, even to see how the animals are being treated.

"When you see a farmer take the life of a pig, and if you don't see some kind of remorse, it's not a good day going to slaughter. It's always a remorseful day."

Two rather rare Ginger Tamworth pigs, named Thelma and Louise, live, at least for now, in relative splendor at the Millstone farm.

Nischan said it's OK to be a tenderhearted meat-eater.

"I think the food that we eat is a personal choice, and the reasons why we eat or choose certain things have to speak to us spiritually."

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