This morning we ate at a standard-American family restaurant. It was pretty bad, and left me feeling gross and vaguely gut-sick. My kid barely ate his food, and I couldn’t blame him; it tasted like chemicals. I know I am especially sensitive, but I am reminded just how processed and removed-from-the-source the typical American diet has become. The priority—and the standard—is what’s the cheapest and easiest to produce, and what has the longest shelf-life. But regardless of what the propaganda says, modern food science does not consider the effects on our health—long- or short-term (or the environment, which is another rant entirely).
And I’m annoyed that even talking about good food is considered so bourgeois; that wanting—god forbid expecting—fresh, healthy, REAL food is somehow yuppity. It doesn’t seem to matter, initiatives going on that are trying to make good food more accessible, because crap-food* just gets cheaper, and that’s all people care about. It doesn’t seem to matter, that a high consumption of crap-food is bad for you, because it’s good for the economy—it keeps people working for peanuts (NPI), it keeps money running to the top, and it keeps people sick, which keeps pharmaceutical and health-insurance companies hugely profitable and powerful. No wonder we get scoffed at when when question food science—it’s a threat to the status quo, as defined by capitalism.
*”The French have a term, malbouffe, referring to junk food, but with broader, more sinister implications. Radical farmer José Bové, who was imprisoned for dismantling a McDonald’s restaurant, explains the concept of malbouffe:
“‘I initially used the word “shit-food”, but quickly changed it to malbouffe to avoid giving offense. The word just clicked—perhaps because when you’re dealing with food, quite apart from any health concerns, you’re also dealing with taste and what we feed ourselves with. Malbouffe implies eating any old thing, prepared in any old way. For me, the term means both the standardization of food like McDonald’s—the same taste from one end of the world to the other—and the choice of food associated with the use of hormones and Genetically Modified Organisms as well as the residues of pesticides and other things that can endanger health.’ —The World is Not for Sale by José Bové and Franois Dufour”
—Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutsen, The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-Sufficient Living in the Heart of the City
(originally posted on Facebook; see post for comments.)
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