Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What's Happened to our food?

     I'm reading Michael Moss's Salt Sugar and Fat. This is a Pulizter prize winning book and I and see why it won the prize.

    Last night I read the chapter on convenience foods. Moss covers the history of convenience foods and how the big companies used it to sell more food. After the war more women began working out of the home. They needed some help in preparing meals. The food companies were all too ready to oblige. Television was established and for the family to watch an evening of television, food preparation had to be more convenient.

   This got me thinking about food when I was a kid. I was raised on a small farm. I was born just before the war started. At that time most of our food was produced on the farm. Very few things were bought from a store. Mom bought, flour, tea, coffee, sugar, salt, pepper, yeast, baking powder, rolled oats and probably a few more items at odd times. All of our food was prepared on the farm. Mom canned hundreds of quarts of food...beans,corn,carrots, peas, fruit, chicken, beef and probably many more. One more that's special would be sauerkraut. Several large crocks of sauerkraut were made and lasted all winter. Mom baked bread, pies, cakes and cookies. We made our own butter and I can remember crying about having to turn the churn. Then I would fight with my brother as we both wanted to be turning the churn when the butter formed. Mom and Dad grew a large garden which more than supplied them with enough food. Potatoes, turnips, beets and onions wee stored in cold storage. 

    So in one way you can see why women looked for convenience foods. This was a tremendous amount of work for my Mom. We also had much better food than the convenient foods that are full of sugar, fat ,salt and a multitude of strange chemicals.

   I know that when I look back nostalgia sets in. Was the food really that good. I think we would be much better off with food that had a lot less fat, sugar , salt and weird chemicals..

40 comments:

  1. my mother was much the same way - we had a huge garden. she canned and froze vegetables, apple slices, apple sauce, made sauerkraut. when we lived on the farm, they raised chickens for food, would buy pork and beef from local farmers. i was raised on meat and potatoes and dessert. i remember as a teenager, i had my first 'bucket of kentucky fried chicken'. it was an amazing treat back then. :)

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    1. I would have enjoyed your Mom's cooking.

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  2. I remember when my mother discovered all those time saving things. Once she discovered instant potatoes I don't think she ever peeled another one. But even so, our food then wasn't nearly as bad for us as fast food is today.

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    1. I had powdered potatoes on the Arctic. They were dreadful. Living on armed forces bases didn't give your Mom any opportunity to grow her own food.

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  3. I agree! Food from scratch was and still is the healthier choice !

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    1. Don't get me wrong. Things do change and should change. It can't stay like Mom used to make things.

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  4. First re: The Grain Grower and his "viral" comment.
    Funnily a similar thing has happened here re: a company (SPC) being sent into Liquidation - a comment by a lady went "viral" - and wonders never cease - an International Supermarket chain - Woolworths - came to the rescue (not the Government) - to keep Aussie produce on supermarket shelves! The Buy Australia campaign is going great guns, also the campaign to support the local shopkeepers to save them. A remarkable effort and the public is responding. I only buy produce from Supermarkets which is NOT grown or produced in Australia - eg: Atlantic Trout and Salmon. This comes from Denmark and the Atlantic Ocean is nowhere near Australia - also I buy some Swiss and French varieties of cheeses which are not produced here - otherwise I buy all Aussie food to support our farmers. It is MANDATORY here for all foods on shelves to be listed - Aussie grown and produced or from overseas, where the country of the food comes from is shown ie: Denmark or France and in the case of Maple Syrup it is usually Canada. I think this is very important for every country to observe. Support your farmers etc.
    To TWG - I have eaten Colonel Sanders, "KFC", - ONCE in the USA, MacDonalds in the same boat. It was horrific, like eating cardboard stuff - look what it does - makes you fat with the junk in it. Even doctors advise against it, but I suppose the lazy will still gobble it down and then wonder why they get so fat???
    Home cooked food is the ONLY answer, then we all are healthy - thank God for sensible mothers and fathers.
    (End of my opinions!)

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    1. How do trade agreements influence these regulations?

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  5. I imagine food was healthier back then but I doubt it tasted better than what we have today.

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    1. Trust me. It was better. Much better.

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  6. I grew up on a farm, too, and most of our food came off the farm. I remember my mother making butter, molding it with a press and selling it. She canned and froze so much food. I took it for granted then, but I do think the food was better for us without all the additives we have now.

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    1. You make a key point...additives. When you read the list of ingredients in some foods you wonder if you should eat it.

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  7. Red I totally agree with your comments - I wonder just how much 'processed' food has to do with our modern day diseases. I know that it takes a lot of work to produce our own foods, but I believe that taking control over what I eat is going to be an essential part in my cancer-free life. The gift of remission means that I will be spending time sourcing organic food, free-range eggs, and growing my own vegetables - rather than sitting in a chair having chemotherapy.
    Fast/Junk food can be a treat - but everyday it is poison.

    I think the food was that good - and it was/is worth working for.

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    1. I think that the food we eat and don't eat today is a contributor to cancer.

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  8. We would be better off but there was a downside in England. Poor children in big towns used to suffer malnutrition. In the countryside people could grow much of their food so it wasn't a problem.

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    1. It's tragic the ways some of our systems are set up so that some suffer.

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  9. I have to agree with you Red. I think the world would be a far better place if all of the processed and convenience stuff was removed. The big supermarkets aren't even necessarily cheaper either. We have been buying everything fresh for a few years now, and use our allotment to grow some of the more expensive fruit and veg. No processed food enters the house. It takes a little more time to gather and prepare, but it's good to know what is going into our bodies. Haha....I have even got the old fishing rod out for the summer, so fresh fish is on the menu (I hope)

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    1. Good on you for putting some effort into your food. You bring up another key factor and that is exercise. We work hard to grow vegetables.

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  10. Yes it was that good and much better for you. You were very lucky Red . B

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  11. I cannot even imagine all the work that must have went into preparing all that food, storing it, cooking it, etc. Wow.

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    1. It was a tremendous amount of work. They also didn't have conveniences like running water.

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  12. Another interesting read! We had a garden when I was a kid. Raised cattle, wheat, and chickens. A lot was made at home, but a lot was purchased too.

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    1. And I still have my vegetable garden. I'd feel guilty if I didn't grow some veggies.

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  13. It is hard to stay away from these foods. I still can a lot, finding pleasure in knowing what is in all my foods.

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  14. We all grew up with enough food and were happy with it. Had never chips or much sweets or all those extras children have now. Nobody had all those allergics as children have now. Food is manupilated more and more, which is not a good devellopement.

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    1. I think it's more than allergies. Processed food is also linked to diabetes and cancer.

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  15. I was raised pretty much the same way, and I still cook from scratch for dinners almost every day. By that I mean, of course, that I use real fruits and vegetables and meats. I do buy dry pastas and other basics, and we do not raise most of our own food, although we do have a small, seasonal vegetable garden.

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    1. Basics like pasta???We don't make it here so we have to buy it. Although what I've read it's not that hard to make pasta.

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  16. It was raised better as well and that is why it smelled different when cooked and tasted better when eaten. And I am guessing that it would be healthier.

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    1. Our animals did not have so many chemicals in them. they had flavor and it was good.

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  17. There is no question that 'convenience' has led to high BP, obesity, and other health woes.
    I am always amazed at the amount of salt in products,not just convenience foods. Where you don't really need it. There are things I just cannot buy due to this issue.
    (ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

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    1. Along with highly processed food we get less exercise.

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  18. I totally agree! and, the food really was better back then. I still remember how the house smelled when mama said, "supper is ready". The fried chicken, fried okra, green beans, creamed potatoes, gravy, cornbread, biscuits, sweet iced tea, all made from scratch!

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    1. We could eat such rich foods as we were very, very active.

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  19. I have my own version of fast foods, we made soups in large batches and freeze them in individual servings. I too was raised on a farm and just thinking of that sauerkraut makes my mouth water:)

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  20. I'll have to read that book! I'm glad I live on a farm and can get a lot of local food from my rural neighbours, as well as producing some of my own (eggs, honey, veggies and some fruit!) We cook most of our own meals and avoided processed food as much as possible. When we do eat out, I'm picky about where we go. Even if it's "fast food", we only go to local, independent "greasy spoon" type places.

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  21. Growing up my Dad raised a large garden and even later on he was given the opportunity to garden on adjoining land and he grew two gardens. My canned during the summer and Dad put up potatoes and apples. We ate corn, beans, potatoes, tomatoes and onions all winter long. Today my Mom and Stepdad still garden and can what they produce. When Mom shops she buys 'staples' and that's about all. It's the life my Mom has lived all of her almost 79 years.

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  22. Living on a farm or in a rural situation where one can grow one's own food (or occasionally in town where one has an allotment) is, obviously, healthy but it is a lot of hard work. Unfortunately for the majority of the population in the developed countries that's not an option. Big business has a lot to answer for, though, in developing over sugared and salted convenience foods which are just plain bad for people.

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