When it comes to the food revolution, how far have we really come? Better yet, how much further do we have to go? And when we are fighting to get there we will be dragging people kicking and screaming in our wake, or will we just leave them to die at the hands of junk and processed foods? Three questions I’d really love an answers for, but for the life of me I can’t help but think nobody even heard them.
Here we are at a time where most people have access to some of the best food in our nation’s history, and yet they are still reaching for taco’s made with a Dorito shell. How it is possible there is still such a great divide between people who get what’s available, and people who don’t? I understand that sometimes you want to reach for something you find tasty letting calories and nutrition be damned…but shouldn’t these types of places start to dwindle a bit rather than growing like kudzu?
I was at the grocery store the other day and saw a father with two younger children in their late single digits walking down the aisle when he says the following, “ok guys…go ahead and pick up your Gatorade!” A rebuttal by Gatorade to Marion Nestles article on sports drinksstates that these drinks “are meant to provide fuel specifically for athletes.” Did this dad not get the memo before walking by the ten to fifteen feet worth of Gatorade product space?
All I can figure is that Northwood, NH is a hotbed of athletic activities. I’m sure that’s why Gatorade is so prevalent on the shelves of the supermarket there. A town with a population of 3,500 people has enough Gatorade to send every man, woman and child of that town to the Olympics…That’s right granny with a little more help on your boxing skills and some Gatorade, looks like you’re gonna be in London this summer!
I pick on Gatorade because, well because their rebuttal was one of the biggest bunches of horse apples I’ve ever seen. But they’re not the only company being dishonest to themselves and the average consumer. If McDonald’s were a cigarette company, their advertising would have been shut down years ago. What kid doesn’t like a clown and all his wacky pals?! OK, I guess I was kinda creeped out by the whole clown thing when I was a kid. But I sure was a big fan of toys and toys are everywhere at this place, and by some minor miracle they usually have something to do with the latest blockbuster kid’s movie that has just come out. The good news kids, all you gotta do is beg like homeless people for hours on end to get your mom and dad to take you there.
Sure, now they have what… apple slices? So naturally this is one healthy happy meal. I say tack on the nearly 700 mg of sodium and 16.5 grams of fat and 60 carbs and you got yourself a hamburger fat and happy meal! I don’t know about the clown, but I sure am smiling after that many carbs! Just imagine if I had the cheeseburger, I could have been at nearly 40 percent of my daily allowance of sodium…maybe we can get them to start serving Gatorade G2 (the low calorie version you know…because it’s healthier) and give the gift of nearly half the daily allowance of sodium to these future athletes!
When I was a kid shopping with my mother at the grocery store, the most exotic thing in the produce section was a pineapple or the odd coconut. The produce section was the place you stopped in if you were going to have a salad, the real vegetables were mostly in cans or frozen. (Luckily my mom canned and froze most of our own vegetables) Iceberg lettuce, tomato, radishes, carrots, red and green bell peppers, cucumbers, onions or maybe scallions was about all the exotica you could find. Sure there were red and white potatoes and the run of the mill fruit, but ask for yucca back then and you would have been treated as though you asked the produce manager for a bag of wet monkeys.
Today there is not only yucca for the asking, but such crazy things as romaine lettuce (I’m telling you kids…it wasn’t there) plantains, endive, three kinds of chard, several types of banana, well hell you’ve been there so you know. So with all this new stuff available to us, why are we still loading up on the TGIF wings in the frozen section and bags of microwaveable fried rice? Are we that damned busy we don’t have time to make a meal for our family? I know for a fact that if you fire up that gas grill and have some chicken and a few vegetables you can have a meal cooked and on the table in less than 20 minutes, and less than that if you learn a simple fresh stir fry. Afterwards you’ll feel better about it, and less like you just emptied your car’s oil and rolled around in the stuff.
With people like Alice Waters and Jamie Oliver running around making sure kids are only eating organic sprouts grown by Miss Toddlers 3rd grade science class, let’s take a realistic look at school lunch programs. My school lunches as a senior in high school cost sixty five cents, and they were worth every penny…all sixty five of them. I remember seeing the S.S. Pierce truck pull up and watched them off load case after case of canned and processed food. Hell the only fresh green thing in the kitchen was the salad which consisted of cut up iceberg lettuce…that’s it. Luckily we had the “orange-reddish” dressing with probably enough trans-fat and sugar to kill a Clydesdale to cover up that awful fresh taste, and only whole chocolate or white milk to wash it down.
I know we can do better for our children than what we had as kids but to what end? Alice Waters a lovely woman and a great chef, but at the far end of the crazy scale when it comes to what is realistic to expect in school lunch programs of this country…at least for the foreseeable future. Jamie Oliver’s approach seems to me a more realistic one for the short term in providing training for kitchen staff and swapping out fried and processed foods for fresh fruits and vegetables. But how are food programs going to get more money when little Tiffany’s band program just got cut? More importantly…Who is going to train little Tiffany’s parents?
Cibo people are everywhere, and so are those annoying foodies. You can hardly turn on the TV these days without running into a cooking or food show. Ratings for food shows on multiple channels are climbing so networks are all scrambling to get their share of the pie, by creating more and more asinine shows than the last… and that’s a problem. Maybe full grown adults watching some dumbass who doesn’t know what side of his head sunglasses are made for aren’t getting the right message about food.
Think about where nonfood centric people learn most about food. The internet, evening news, newspapers…wherever it is…are being spoon fed bite sized tidbits about what’s going on in the food world in a very unpalatable way. This or that causes heart disease, these foods cause diabetes after you eat them twice, and this tastes really great but will eat a hole in your brain! Who the hell wants that when you can just be happy and carefree in front of the TV? You can watch Ditsy Do Right make a fabulous meal with a couple cans of cream of whatever that took five minutes and about a dollars’ worth of love and electricity in the microwave.
I know I haven’t answered any of the questions I set out to answer, and in fact I know I’ve created a ton more. After thinking the food movement has come so far in this country, I’m realizing it’s got so much further to go. Do I want to see the outright ban of certain foods? Hell no…if you outlaw Ring Dings, only criminals will have Ring Dings…well criminals and me I guess. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t think twice about knocking granny down on my way to the last box of them on the shelf. Just watch yourself though; she could be the one on her way to the Olympics this summer!
So I don’t want to see foods banned, what I’d love to see are families have a shopping cart with a preponderance of fresh fruits and vegetables in their cart, and fewer than twenty frozen meals. I’d love to see people at the farmers market who were actually there to do something crazy like, oh hell I don’t know…buy vegetables! Instead they are there showing the world how green they are by wearing nothing but 100% hemp fiber clothing, and 100% recycled don’t bungle with the jungle tote bags. They use these for the odd bit of produce, but mostly to carry their precious little pup “Prius” around…Who I’m pretty sure….. yup… just took a leak on momma’s once white asparagus!