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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Habits,Novelties, and the history of Food Consumption


Growing cherry tomatoes in insulated blankets on the Oregon Coast, Summer 2014.

Throughout our evolution we kept trying to find  new things to eat, in part because we were always hungry, and in part because as our brain grew larger we needed more fuel. I can personally vouch for the need to fuel the brain because after a meeting, even today in my retirement years, just listening to a bunch of facts and figures, not even trying to be attentive and active participant, I'm beat and famished and can't say no to anything put in front of me.

Someone must be using that little fact to present us with food at such meetings that we might reject at other times, sweets, sugary drinks, indulgences of all sorts.

As in potato chips and ice-cream, both invented for fried brains. No wonder that in prime time the advertising on television is mostly about food products none of us really need, but want after a little teasing jingle has wet our appetite.

How could it be that an evolved civilization could be so insensitive and yes, stupid even, as to stuff itself with non-food and feel good about it?

During my working years, the last thing I wanted to think about was preparing a meal from scratch, as in home-made soup or stews at the end of the day after a long day and a long commute, to a waiting family that might need not just food, but supplies to rush and pick up at the store for tomorrow's presentation in one of the classes the children attended, or an activity like soccer or ballet, or...

 Well, someone came up with canned and frozen products that almost made the working mom feel good; why the advertising said, "Uhh, uhh, Good!!!" What we never knew was that food chemists were working double time to come up with "invented" taste, adding extra vitamins on the label to reassure the housewife that the product they took home to feed their family was as good as home-made.

Now that I have the time to truly read the labels, to truly shop carefully for food, I'd rather go back a thousand years in history, (in my own family, we go back just one generation), and grow my own food, then freeze the excess for those winter days when a bag of frozen peas can be added to that risotto and make spring reappear on the dinner table. Nothing beats the taste of that tiny tomato you grow, sweating over it as if it were your own baby growing under that insulating blanket. And months later, roasted, herbed and frozen tomatoes will have nothing of the "tin" taste of canned tomatoes.

Isn't it ironic?


16 comments:

Amanda said...

Home grown always tastes the best, you are right. We don't take the time in our culture to do this, we are domesticated to have someone else do that for us. We never have the time. But we are missing out.

Good food for thought, Rosaria.

Brian Miller said...

i like home grown much better....i think we are disconnected from where our food comes from...and we just accept what they put together in those cans as food...or what we microwave...its a bit sad...i wonder if we lost that capability how many would survive...

Meryl Baer said...

Love fresh, home grown and locally grown produce and other food products. Whatever is added to the final dish I add. I know what goes into my body!

#1Nana said...

I agree. I just came inside from The garden where I harvested another huge basket of Roma tomatoes. I'm going to oven roast them with garlic and herbs and make soup. I've already got tomatoes roasted and frozen and then ev,en more just skinned and frozen. I'm running out of freezer room and ideas of what to do with them. So tomorrow well have oven roasted tomato soup and fresh bread with homemade, jam. I've turned in to the farm wife the spouse always wanted!

Linda Myers said...

Nothing so good as home grown! This week we have dozens and dozens of bunches of grapes. Delicious!

Tom Sightings said...

All that you say is true. But if you saw my own gardening efforts you'd know I'm not kidding when I say that it's a good thing I'm not a farmer, because I'd probably end up starving to death. (Fortunately, I have a brother-in-law who's got a huge, productive plot and he gives us lots of free stuff). Anyway, I agree that natural, home-grown is the best, and one of the benefits of retirement is that we can take the time to do it.

Vera said...

Up until six years ago we lived off of supermarket shelves, and then the Universe decided to ship us over to France and involve us with running a smallholding. It was the best thing that could have happened because we now eat 90% of home grown food, including our own meat. It is with horror that I look back at what we were putting into our stomachs when we lived in the UK! And it does feel as if we are stepping backwards in time sometimes!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Rosaria .. I love fresh food - but we were so lucky and were brought up on it .. also we still seem to cook that way, even if I don't grow the veg or fruit myself ... fresh is the thing. I've thankfully never been tempted off to tinned food, pre-prepared foods etc ...

Your veggie plot looks amazing .. good to see and to remind us about the dangers of supermarket or advertising men shopping prompts! = bad and not good for us .. all those chemical inputs ...

Cheers Hilary

yaya said...

The things we've done to food has, and is, making us sick and tired, literally...why are so many having trouble with gluten and other things that we used to be able to eat freely. Sugar is a demon when used in excess. And it's in everything. We've become addicted and now we must go "carb free" to lose any weight at all. We've super sized our portions and grown are appetites and stomachs to accommodate it..crazy! Somehow we need to find balance and growing our own food or buying from organic farming is one step in the right direction. Preserving it ourselves is another good step. Good post Rosaria!

Helen said...

Good morning! If there is one thing that will spur us to drastically re-think our food plans, it is a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes! I am astounded at how much our lives have changed since August 20th ~~ our D Day! Healthy food, as fresh as possible, eliminating the processed stuff, balanced meals. The difference in Carl is astounding. We are still working on the appropriate medication dosages, keeping his numbers stable. He is now testing himself and feeling empowered!! What a journey.

troutbirder said...

Indeed. I really miss my own garden but its hard to grow now in with out home in the Oak
Woods. Still we depend on the local farmers markets...:)

Maggie May said...

Home grown and prepared is definitely the best but how marvellous that busy people can just open a tin or get something out of the freezer! Best of both worlds!
Maggie x

Nuts in May

Vagabonde said...

I agree with you, home grown vegetables taste better, but are they better for you? I am not so sure, depending where one lives. I read an article about water pollution, rain water I mean. If there have been fires in your state or states close by, the smoke and its pollution can drift for miles, even to other countries. Another “natural” pollution in the rain water I read about is the gas that is released from radioactive decay of rocks on close by mountains – and it filters into clouds then rain water. And that is just natural pollution, not counting acid rain or heavy metal into rain coming from exhaust of cars, trucks, aircraft, etc …. Tests were made and some frozen vegetable had less pollutants in them than home grown – of course it was not that bad even 50 years ago. It is disheartening.

Friko said...

I cook from scratch daily. We rarely, if ever, eat supermarket prepared food. We always have fresh vegetables and fruit.

Yes, I am a saint.

But I am also retired and have the time to do this. When I was working I too delved into the supermarket deep freeze for my ‘fresh’ produce.

kj said...

i may not make everything from scratch, but i am aware of what i eat and i choose fresh most often.

i have a small garden this year: only tomatoes and basil and green beans. and zinnias for frivolity !

i've noticed my daughter feeds her kids mostly very healthy food. i view that as a hopeful sign for the planet.

you are a good writer, rosaria. nice to be here.

love
kj

Hilary said...

Oh absolutely. There's so much tasteless food. And if not tasteless, they're a fake taste.. chemically created flavours. Garbage. And I'm just as guilty of occasionally bringing some of it into the house as the next person. Much less so lately though. I'm now living in an area where we can get access to organic and fresh .. and things are looking up.. and tasting much better.