Posted by: foodtalker | July 28, 2010

food fads and foolishness

There was a time when I could go to the grocery, load up, check out and be home within thirty minutes.   I used to buy a carton of eggs and the only thing to worry about was whether or not one was broken.  Sometimes I wouldn’t even bother to check, playing Russian roulette with the odds.

I’ve always been funny about eggs.  Any way they’re fixed they have to wind up rigid. Nothing runny or wobbly.  No white stuff separated from the yellow stuff.  I don’t like getting too involved with them.   But today buying eggs requires a master’s degree.  Are they organic?  Are they cage-free?  Was the hen a happy hen?  The other day I purchased a carton of eggs and there was a pamphlet inside.  It began “Dear Egg Buyer”.    Now they are looking to establish a personal relationship with me.  There was so much information about the eggs and the hens and the farm they came from it was overwhelming.  Their sunlit accommodations seemed superior to mine.

At some point along the way the farming industry has made it mandatory to reveal every detail of life from farm to table.  It’s no longer about how nutritious the food is, but where it came from, how it reaches us, and who grew it with a photo on the packaging of the farmer and his family all grinning and looking extremely healthy. Food can’t simply be tasty; it has to have additional qualities to make it irresistible.  It has to have healing powers, medicinal benefits, prevent wrinkles, break down fat and prolong life.

So now when I am having a yogurt, I’m not just having lunch.  I’m regulating my digestion and supporting my immune system.  There’s an adorable cow in a sunny verdant pasture on the side of the cup incase I need a clue about the origins of my meal.  It’s important that I feel more intimately connected to the source of my probiotics.

Whole food groups have been rearranged according to their health merits.  Take the blueberry, for example.  A blueberry is no longer one in the general rank of berries, but has been escalated to the top of the berry ladder, heralded as a wonder berry.  With this omnipotent status, why buy a mere raspberry that apparently has no magic capabilities? 

Then there’s acai, which no one had every heard of several years ago.  Now if you don’t have it daily in one form or another, no telling what will happen to you.  It pales the blueberry.

Suddenly it’s okay to eat mountains of avocadoes – they are loaded with amino acids and good for my skin.  Nuts reduce signs of aging too, so I can eat a bucket of cashews.  Dark chocolate is my all time favourite superfood, it lowers blood pressure, so no need to feel guilty there, I can eat the whole bar.  The only problem being that as I cheerfully hoover up my essential superfoods, the one visible change so far has been on the bathroom scales.

I understand the locally sourced movement, but I don’t always trust it.  To be sure of food origins requires buying in person from the farmer who brings his product to market, otherwise it’s just a label that can all too easily be slapped on something to catch the wave and con the public into paying $4.00 for one heirloom tomato.  For some people that’s their food budget for a whole meal.

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Responses

  1. I agree. Just gimme the damn food and leave me alone! Uh, please.

  2. At last! Someone who agrees with me about eggs! Never had a fried egg in my life. Never had a runny one. Give me a well-blended scramble and I’m happy.


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