Wired Science (November 25, 2009)
"Thanksgiving is about eating, and though local, organic food might be what the cool kids are eating, most people are still eating products of the industrial food system.
"Whether you're talking turkey, cranberries or potatoes, industrial-scale processes have been developed to drive down food costs, drive up corporate profits and feed America's incredible hunger for novel food items.
"But most consumers of these manufactured meals have little or no knowledge of the machines and methods used to freeze turkeys, turn potatoes into fake potatoes, and cranberries into TV-dinner cranberry sauce. It's not always pretty, but food scientists' epic battle to scale up your mom's recipes without making them taste nasty is worth examining, if not giving thanks for.
"Turkey is the most iconic component of any Thanksgiving meal. Extensive breeding programs have seriously genetically altered the birds that millions of Americans eat. The birds have more than doubled in size since 1930 to an average of 28 pounds today. Even though we generally eat them whole, and therefore less processed than other meals, food technologists have developed new ways of freezing turkeys to...."
It's an interesting article, with a fair amount of detail and history of how familiar American Thanksgiving foods get to the table - in large enough quantity and low enough price for most of us to be able to afford some.
EEEK! The Agricultural-Industrial Complex is Behind It!The article does not say "agricultural-industrial complex." Anywhere.
I get the impression, though, that whoever wrote it was rather thoroughly immersed in the "old-fashioned is better" ethic that permeates so much of the health-food subculture - or was keeping the 'natural is better' people in mind.
As for "agricultural-industrial complex?" You've probably heard of the "military-industrial complex" that some people in America are convinced is the embodiment of all not-niceness, and to blame for most if not all of the world's problems. Well, agribusiness is a pretty important part of the American economy, it's complex, and it operates on an industrial scale. And the AIP phrase sounds so weird, I couldn't resist using it.
Well, maybe I could have, but I didn't.
I've eaten food, fresh from the forest floor: and some of it's pretty good.
But I'm not sorry that most of what I eat wasn't grown on the manor, or that America is a major exporter of food.
And I certainly don't have a hankering for the "good old days," when the elders in my group were appalled at the heathens across the river, who scraped hides with sharpened rocks, instead of just gnawing through them, the way nature intended.
- "Growing Meat Without Animals: I Wondered How Long This Would Take"
(November 20, 2009)
- "Tofu Turkeys, Genetically Altered Foods, and the Evil Eye"
(November 14, 2009)
- "Food, Agriculture, Technology, and City Folks"
Drifting at the Edge of Time and Space (October 2, 2009)
- "Ten Newly-Discovered Species - Including Bacteria in Hairspray"
(May 27, 2009)
- "Earth Day 2009: Don't Stop Breathing to Save Earth"
(April 22, 2009)
- "Cloned Beef on its Way: FDA Okays Cloning Cattle"
(January 16, 2008)
- "Agriculture as a Mistake"
(October 29, 2007)