Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Lickin' My Lips Over This One

A short history of processed food and imperialism

This is hysterical, in and of itself.

But I wonder how this figures into the history of food--and American desire, on all levels. I've read The Omnivore's Dilemma and Fast Food Nation. And I've watched Super Size Me and have not so much as licked non-organic or free-range meat since watching the movie Fast Food Nation, which unforgettably personalizes the violence of the book.

As someone who's heard the words "Oh, you have cancer" not too many years after being diagnosed with not one, but two autoimmune diseases, I am a teeny tiny bit attentive to food and health.

Honey, I can hear that keyboard flutter. I'm fine. All yellow good energy and healed. It was carcinoid cancer, found during a standard pathology test after a 'routine' emergency appendectomy, if such a nonsensical exists. I'll post more about that later this week, promise. Because oh there's a story: eight month old baby, no breast pump, nurse who forgot to call the surgeon while that appendix lay bursting, lost pathology report for six weeks thus the 'oh my, cancer surprise' at another 'routine' follow-up ---not to mention the psychological complexities of that diagnosis, however positive (100% good news and never again). Look for more on this and how the wronged Matron stormed the doors of Health Care, later.

We all have good reason to be concerned about what we put into our bodies, but I am the recipient of that classic Wake Up Call(s).

Then there's my special relationship with those jeans.

Anyway. . . Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) has written a new book, In Defense of Food. I heard him on assert on NPR's Science Friday that 90% of what most Americans eat is not food! We subsist largely subsist on man-made chemicals. Guess This Childhood Treat:

Chicken breasts with rib meat, Water, Salt, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Flavors, Chicken Fat, Propylene Glycol, Water, Sunflower Oil, Artificial Flavors, Sodium Lactate, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Chicken Broth, Polysorbate 60, Polysorbate 80, Sodium Hydroxide, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean & Cottonseed Oil, Papain, Chicken Powder, & Thiamine Hydrochloride, Flavoring. Breaded with: Bleached Wheat Flour, Enriched Wheat Flour (Enriched with Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Salt, Spice, Dextrose, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate) Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Extractives of Paprika, Soybean Oil, set in Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil. Battered with: Water, Bleached Wheat Flour, Modified Corn Starch, Salt, Spices, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Soybean Oil, Onion Powder, Dextrin, Extractives of Paprika, Yellow 6, Red 40 Lake, Natural & Artificial Flavor (Including Butter Flavor), Lactic Acid, Not more than 2% Sodium Silico Aluminate added to prevent caking. Predusted With: Wheat Flour, Modified Corn Starch, Salt, Wheat Gluten, Spice, Extractives of Paprika, Soybean Oil, Onion Powder, Not More Than 2% Silicon Dioxide Added to Prevent Caking. Contains: Wheat.

That's a Burger King chicken nugget, friends. Num! Progress! Technology! Let's genetically engineer water and call it a day. The video's combination of supposedly naive technological ambition and entrepreneurial pitch may very well have come to absolute fruition.

Well, thank goodness we're not trying to impose our finger-lickin' fast food ways on anyone else on the planet, hmmmmmmm?

My! The Matron can't quite shake the rant these days. She is testy. Maybe it's that one million below zero wind chill. . . . .


Lisa Milton said...

Dude. (Sometimes here on the west coast, we must say it. It's written.)

I'm with you. Brain cyst, autoimmune disease coupled with these books, and I'm rededicating myself to cooking at home, lots of veggies.

Rant on. We need to hear it. Our kids need us to hear it.

And I am so glad you are well. So glad! You're in my thoughts.

bipolarlawyercook said...

I've been cooking more or less "around the outside" of the supermarket since I was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries, and I DID lose 80 lbs. I'm just hoping it helps me with the early breast cancer that runs in the family.

Beth said...

We should all be wary as to what we eat, drink, etc. but I understand why you are particularly concerned and attentive. (And autoimmune diseases can be so difficult to live with.)

I love your rants!

Optimist said...

MM - love your blog - found it by way of Mrs. G.

I am a recent convert to healthy eating - read "Skinny Bitch" (not at all what I expected), then Diet for a New America and its sequel The Food Revolution, Andrew Weil's Healthy Aging and now the China Study. All very well researched and worthwhile reads.

It is truly scary what "they" are serving us out there. I am really concerned about school lunches and am trying to get some women together in Houston to create demand that the school district switches to organic milk. I hate to think about the meat... One thing at a time!

Rant on!

Nora Bee said...

Rock on, you. We gots to take care of these bodies of ours, eh? No one else will.

Laura said...

Hi MM -- I'm trying to shift my "food thoughts" from the negative, fear-related,and scary such as "shouldn't eat this, it's Bad," and "this will kill me, it clogs arteries/causes cancer/stiffens my joints" to more positive thoughts: This tastes good. I have more energy when I eat this way. Look at the beautiful colors. This food is fresh and alive and easy to prepare. I am taking care of myself. :)

I don't want to be wary, concerned, fearful, careful.

I'm trying, I said -- not there, yet. And my joints DO ache.

Breakfast: In a large, shallow bowl, place a few dark green spinach leaves. Slice a banana, chop an apple or pear, and sprinkle with lemon juice. Arrange over spinach leaves. Throw in few blueberries or strawberries, a handful of walnuts, a couple tablespoons full of flax seed. Stand back and admire colors before eating. Pour a little orange juice over fruit if you like it moister. Crunch, crunch, crunch.
The visual and the thought of eating something Good, feels better than the thought of Not Eating Something Bad. I'm feeling so tired of the way we in this country are motivated by Fear. "Vote for this guy so we'll be Safe." "Protect your children." "Be Careful." Instead of simply, "Live a Joy-centered Life." "Be Happy."

Do you know what I mean? Did all that make any sense? Trying to replace negative thoughts and motivation with positive. Now, I must go and choose pretty colors to eat. :)

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Totally agree with what everyone says about food here...


what about everyone who can't afford to eat healthy? who can't afford non-poison meat? the hell with them?

We need to petition our lawmakers to subsidize the organic food industry in our country, rather than the factory farmers...

another mary said...

And some of us are just trying to get out the door in the mornings to jobs and put kids on the buss and dealing with car pools and just trying to do it with a smile and have a good day and really just don't have time/patience to put that pretty bowl of fruit together and admire it before wolfing it down... but it sounds wonderful... and I agree, organic farmers need to be supported!

Melissa said...

What's funny is that last weekend we ate fast food en route to Minn. to visit my family. We all felt sick afterwards and my husband the salesman who used to live on food on the run in his car commented, "weird, this stuff must have awful things in it to make you feel so bad when you eat it--yet when you eat it all the time, you don't feel sick at all. How does that work?"

My personal story aside, again with an AMEN from the choir where I stand...we've become more and more nutritious and natural in Green Girl's house, partly out of fear and partly because it makes us all happier;)

Minnesota Matron said...

Say, Optimist, me too. I like to say I don't run the world yet, but I think I might and just that THOUGHT makes me happy. Skinny Bitch, hmmm? I've never heard of it but plan to google and check it out right now. I'm just sickened by what we eat -- and also in full agreement with Laura, Suburbancorrespondant and that other Mary: time and money!! These factors keep even people in the middle class on fake food rather than organic beef. It takes time to make food and in our culture, money to buy better. Those were a couple of the points Pollan made on the radio interview I heard.

I actually plan on trying the spinach breakfast. I bought the ingredients today!

One time trick I have: at the beginning of the week, I make a huge mound of salad with chopped veggies and lettuce--hard and self-contained veggies like cauliflower. Then I dice up a bunch of things that would make the salad ucky over time, like feta cheese/tomatos and put those in their own containers. Wa-la -- salad as a main meal or side all week long.

For kids, I slice hunks of fruit so there's always something handy rather than having them wander through the fridge.

All for now - but what a good conversation!

Mrs. G. said...

Rant on! My daughter read this FFN when it first came out, and she has never entered a fast food joint again. It scarred her in a good way.

Laura said...

Just visited Kate-in-New Zealand's blog. Look at this salad:

Minnesota Matron said...

Laura - That's a great recipe, in part because it looks sooo easy to make, so quick. That's something I can give a try. I had a strange moment yesterday because after all this about quality food, I made my biweekly tip to Cub where I buy things I can't get at the co-op: junk. My kids love Gushers. It's hard!

kate5kiwis said...

hello foodie chick,
well that salad is a no-brainer, lol.
only about five ingredients.

but that is too freaky about the chicken nuggets. not that i buy them.

yeah, i echo lisa:
rant on.
kate in NZ