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Is Your Food Old Fashioned? Is That Wrong?

October 7, 2014

800px-Fruit,_Vegetables_and_Grain_NCI_Visuals_OnlineDoes everything need to be improved? And how far does improvement go before it’s no longer what it was to begin with? If they make broccoli taste like chocolate covered peanuts more people would eat it – but is it still broccoli? Do you eat old fashioned food? Should you?

Some time ago there was a discussion on a Facebook forum about orange juice not being high fiber. Should it be? Why does everything have to be high fiber, and why can’t we just enjoy orange juice for what it does offer?

We grow a variety of things here, and with community raised beds on tap for the local foodie I expect we’ll see more. Or not, if there’s no demand for these unimproved foods. New and Improved may be perspective! I hear people don’t want additives. I hear legions of people following “Food Babe”, many have read “Food Rules” since it came out five years ago and yet – the wave is but a ripple.

I read, watch and work to stay competitive as we can. Ultimately it’s about consumer choices. So I get a magazine today and see Quest Nutrition is introducing the world’s first high protein snack potato chip. It’s a chip that is not less bad, but good for you, as it says, with 21g of whey and milk proteins used as protein powders on things like cheddar & Sour Cream, Sea Salt and Barbecue. Companies don’t do this without a very good indication it will sell.

Then there’s highly processed rice cakes, long held as cardboard tasteless snacks, now with chocolate, strawberry yogurt and vanilla orange courtesy of an Italian company, Element, that will be sold in the US. Not to be outdone, Johnsonville sausage has a sweet touch with maple syrup added to their sausage – pop them in the microwave.

RoastBeefProduceFarmersMktI learned of a survey of adults and kids about packing lunches – 71% of moms handle that duty and 4% of kids make their own lunch. “Our survey showed that parents love the convenience of pre-packed lunch kits, but not necessarily the ingredients,” said Neil Leinwand of Applegate Natural & Organic Meats. 88% liked convenience while 79% were concerned about preservatives, nitrates and artificial ingredients.

And yet they sell. The convenience sells while the concern over additives grows. Yes, we use some of the quick and easy products, so there isn’t a problem with their existence. At the same time, many bemoan ‘simpler times’ and say things aren’t the same as they used to be while demanding that everything fills every nutritional need. Can’t there be balance?

Can’t we appreciate calcium in milk and potato chips going with a burger that has protein rather than a meal in itself? I remember cartoons as a kid where you take this pill and drink that drink and that was a meal – some said it’d never come to that but we’re not far from it now. With the #FoodBabeArmy and others targeting foods it’s just a matter of time before “there’s nothing left to eat!

I like choices of oatmeal or bacon and eggs or French toast and sausage for breakfast both for taste and nutrition rather than a power bar covered in chocolate that has everything in it and tastes ok but lasts a short time. Many instruct drinking with a glass of water – which is good – but it’s not the food but the water that fills one up.

Of course it’s not a hard and fast rule either – we can enjoy both at certain circumstances and fully embrace food choices. When 84% of kids said they preferred lunch from home moms are doing something right.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAAs some embrace cooking, baking, cookbooks as interests it seems old fashioned. Can we accept that “real food” has nutrition? Can we accept that not every food needs every nutrient? Can we sometimes get over the built and just enjoy a Snicker’s bar or bowl of ice cream because we want a comfort that tastes good without having to justify that it’s good for us? Can we accept our grandparents weren’t obese because they didn’t have an overabundance of food to choose from? Can we stop fearing food long enough to accept that many are overweight because we chose to love food more than ourselves?

That’s not the fault of farmers, food processors, McDonald’s or Monsanto. That responsibility rests on every one of us and every food choice we made over the last 10 years, 20 years, 30 years. It didn’t happen because we stopped at McDonald’s for lunch today or Monsanto altered a seed 20 years ago.

Past and present we choose. If making a pan of brownies is old fashioned, if making dinner at home is old fashioned, if forgoing the box and can is an option for two days per week what would it change? Those supporting #MeatlessMonday speak of how many gallons of water or other stats is changed by one day per week. Baking from a box is increasing – with more products being added.

When celebrities have ‘home baked goods’ or Whole Foods has artisan type displays do people really think it’s being packaged by hand? Is that better than the one actually making that reality?

Do we really want niche markets? Do we want the taste of cooking from scratch or the illusion of cooking from scratch? Or have we become so conditioned that it tastes funny and we sigh, say it was another time and buy another processed meal? Are you up for old fashioned eating?

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