Sunday, May 13, 2012

Real Food and Almost Food

I've been thinking about real food a lot lately. I've been reading a great old book called "Eating in America" that I found at the library, all about the history of food in America. It was written in the 70's, so the last sections are very out-of-date. But the rest of the history is really interesting, and their recommendations are spot-on. It's a little amazing to me that food writers were making these observations already in the 70's, yet mainstream American society still hasn't really adopted them. Directly from the book, here are the recommendations of the authors from 1976:

  • "Fresh food is preferable to preserved...food grown not too far from the place of consumption is best, even if it is only available in season"
  • "Variety in ingredients and in ways of preparation of dishes makes eating more enjoyable and probably more healthful"
  • "Most industry-created foods, such as sugared breakfast foods, 'potato chips' from powdered dessicated potatoes, synthetic fruit drinks notably shy on fruit...are...properly called junk and should be so regarded"
  • "The authors admire quality and diversity of food, they deplore its conspicous waste as evidenced in over-large servings. The steak house which greatly overcharges its clients for more than they can eat does not atone by offering a 'doggie bag' for the uneaten portion. Restraint is appropriate in home cooking too, unless the cook is a genius at using leftovers"
It made me wonder how much healthier Americans-and my family and I in particular-would be if we all followed their guidelines. Probably a lot!

Also, on the topic of real food, this sketch made me laugh last night on SNL (it does contain some minor swearing, so you probably won't want to watch it with little kids in the room):


All quotations were taken from pages 446 & 447 of  the 1976 edition of Eating in America by Waverly Root & Richard de Rochemont, which I checked out from the the library.

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