I’ve been pondering our relationship with the Food Industry lately. All the scares, junk food hype, obesity, basically the whole ball of wax.
I thought back to my carefree ‘50’s childhood when food was the good guy. We trusted that our parents would fill our bellies. There were times when we hated what was put in front of us. There was no choice but to suck it up. Eat the lima bean hot with the family or cold by yourself. Don’t forget to clean your plate, your father worked hard to put the food on the table.
Restaurants, because they fell under the food satisfying umbrella, were never challenged for being unhealthy. If it tasted good it was good for you. Chances were you could count on one hand how many fancy restaurant meals you ate in a year. These were events punctuated by Shirley Temples and everyone eating something different at the same time.
Drive-thrus emerged as a fun cheap family outing. Eating in the car was a challenging experience. There were no cup holders or pull out trays. But chomp we did in communal bliss. It was a treat not a weekly occurrence.
We had the Colonel selling chicken, little Wendy and her burgers, Big Boy showing us how happy we would be eating in his restaurants. No one thought that any of the food served was bad. Even the frozen dinners eaten when our parents went out were considered healthy. Mom was ecstatic that she could run away from the kitchen one night and our bellies would be full.
Science entered the equation figuring out that cholesterol was bad and pointing at all of the food that contained it. Salt became the bad ingredient. Quantities were analyzed by age and sex. We all knew we needed food to live but the unconditional joy was being removed.
Restaurants had to work harder to bring the joy back with bigger portions, richer ingredients, and more reasons not to eat at home.
Grocery stores were also vying for the satisfying buck. The frozen food aisle bulged with dishes to entice easy replaced economical. Quick replaced from scratch.
Food slowly fell into 2 categories. Healthy, which we discovered annually in January, and the rest that we ate the other eleven months. Cooking magazines reminded us of when to change gears cutting time and variety of ingredients.
The food industry tripped over itself inventing new dishes always seeking the elusive comfort factor. They pushed the flavor profile to the absurd.
Agribusiness quietly imploded with dire consequences to our country’s health and psyche.
The Food Industry has become bloated with bad products and the consumer is left with indigestion.
I’m mad at the callous lack of respect for the public. Healthy, good food should be a priority not an unattainable dream.