September 23, 2013

Faded produce sign on old building.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

We were discussing produce in class the other day and the complexity of this subject can be mind-boggling.  One must decide between fresh or frozen, locally sourced versus industrially produced, organic or conventionally grown (with herbicides and pesticides), and GMO or non-GMO.  Sometimes the decision is based solely on economics and it is unfortunate that fresh, local, organic, and non-GMO foods can be more expensive.  It is important to note that this is not always the case.  However, given the rate of poverty in the U.S. and the high number of working poor, that extra amount really can make a difference.  Availability is another issue-many communities are served only by convenience stores and fresh produce is just not stocked.   A final variable is time.  The busier the schedule, the greater the lure of fast food.  Unfortunately, that which is fast, particularly if it comes from some box or package, is often just not that healthy.

Lone pepper.

Copyright 2013 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

All of those factors can make for some tough choices.  This is also where it gets interesting.  Michael Moss in Salt, Sugar,Fat points out that the food children eat often determines which will be consumed throughout their lives:  early experiences teach children what food should taste like and foods that are high in those fundamental ingredients “train” the taste buds what to expect.  Mr. Moss also discusses the process by which food manufacturer’s seized on the sociological changes sweeping the U.S. during the 1950s as women entered the workforce-this is where time comes into the equation.  Advertisements taught working mothers that processed foods were the answer to a busy schedule.

I clearly remember having a preference for Campbell’s vegetable soup over my grandmother’s made-from-scratch vegetable soup when I was growing up and McDonald’s was a multiple-night-a-week staple while in college.  Twenty years ago I made very fundamental changes in my eating patterns and now have a hard time even thinking about eating the majority of fast and/or processed foods. 

I wish I could have her soup now.

Take care.


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