Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Creation

"I intend to make attar out of everything!" And thus spoke Borden, and processed food was born. And Borden said, let there be licensed plants in other parts of the country, and "the chain" was born. And Delmonico saw that New World plants could be cultivated, and "salads" were born. And Clarence Birdseye ice-fished in the pond one day, and "the freezer" was born. In order to inspire awe in our ancestors, history writers (like the above dogmas by Boorstin) attributed America's food 'progress' to entrepreneurial "business heroes." In reality, the garden of Eden was already born by people who lived in this country way before us: Native Americans.

But we like heroes. And now, our food system has again undergone another creation, changing within the last 40 years more than in the previous forty thousand. Our secretive Willy Wonka Wonderland is no longer a product of soil and water, but instead, a technological wizardry with new heroes to laud. The true conundrum remains: fast food was founded by individualists and people who broke out of conventional wisdom— all to develop a conformity that we are now all imprisoned by and from which many of us wish to break free but don't know how to or just can't. Are we, as Rachel Lauden posits, in the mindset that for sanity and happiness to persist in this culture, that we need to live in the moment, amidst this scientific progress?

My little six-year-old cousin asked me at our Seder: Why is the piece of Matzoh so large? Well, little one, we are now in a world where capitalism dominates. We have stripped the workers of their rights, and placed much of the conniving exploitation we humans are capable of unto the consumer. Now we, as consumers, have to recognize that companies do not allow for moderation with their super-sizing, thanks to Wallerstein. That the mere presence of more for less DOES induce people to eat more. And that we have to raise our own culinary gavel and be responsible for sifting through images bombarding us day by day in order to make a logical, self-made decision.

We should be angry at society for creating these types of "foods," and instead, we are angry with ourselves for succumbing and buying it, filling up our intestines with this shit that we think actually makes us feel good. I hate the colors of the packaging, the false claims, and the ingredients that are probably better used for your little cousin's toy motorboat than a meal choice. It is IMPERATIVE to see what we've done to our species and to our culture— that processed packaging is a development of big business— not health. That we are degrading the lands day by day and de-mineralizing the soil, contributing to increased vitamin and mineral requirements. That we are adding crap-loads of salts and sugars to our foods— only to be competitive within the food market, and SELL for the sake of taste— NOT for health. Awareness is essential when scavenging the super-markets. It is a STORE, and they want to SELL their PRODUCTS, regardless of the false claims and consequences.

I agree with Lauden in that "natural was unreliable" but have we really "beaten plants into submission" by all of our soaking and crushing, or have we just beaten ourselves into submission that this way is the new, better way? Heating always destroys ring structures and decreases the raw bioavailability of vitamins in food. No one is taking away the convenience of a loaf of bread, churros, or andagi— but how does it react once INSIDE? This isn't about convenience. It's about your life— it's about the thing your mind sits on and preserving that thing for as long as you can.

I'm not going to lie— I love being able to taste the fruit of different cultures BECAUSE OF our processing and packaging and shipping and importing. Because of our open trade, and our open markets, and our need for bigger business— we can enjoy the myriad fruits of the Earth. But I'm sorry. Why should I succumb to this societal progression of dining? YES— bring back "slow food." I am NOT a proponent of advertisement bombings on my skull everyday, and the homogenizing, cookie-cut influence on our culture from the uniformity of these BIG CORPS. The golden arches are "more widely recognized than the Christian cross?" SICK! The McDonaldization of America is a sad excuse for an entire culture of people-turned-food-lazy. The irony: Tri-athlete Greg Brenneman, is the CEO of BK. And why shouldn't he be? Of course, a slop-eating lazy couch potato can't possibly run one of the largest corporations in the world.

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