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Thursday, May 03, 2007
(1:35 PM) | Stephen:
American Food Is Not Made From Food Anymore

Worcestershire sauce is, in my opinion, very underrated. That isn't a complaint, though, because its status allows me to add it to recipes and impress people with my mad cooking skillz, yo. As with all items we buy in grocery stores, it pays to read the label, though, to make sure that the worcestershire sauce in question is the real deal, and not just some artificially flavored crap.

Real worcestershire sauce has anchovies in it, and tamarind, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, molasses, garlic and the delightfully vague "spices" ingredient. Unfortunately, there's all sorts of problems one can run into with these ingredients. The "soy" sauce might be flavored and hydrolyzed wheat and soy protein (good source of melamine!). Sugar will often be replaced by high fructose corn syrup. The tamarind flavor could be artificial, as well as the flavor from the anchovies.

I'm sure that in some company, people are working on an artificial water product that's made from industrial waste. No matter the ingredient, there's an artificial or reconfigured replacement for it that's cheaper for the company to use instead of the real thing. That's why places like Whole Foods and Wild Oats are popping up all over the country. The thing is, since Americans are learning to associate "natural" with "higher price," companies are able to abuse us even more. They can rework their standard products to be unholy conglomerations of chemicals and byproducts and introduce "new" higher-priced products that are made the way food should be made.

Look at our beef. Feedlot cattle are injected with growth hormones and fed a corn diet which makes their stomachs so acidic that lesions are produced and infected. That's why they get injected with so many antibiotics. People start finding out about this and make a fuss. The magical market responds by businesses starting to offer "naturally raised" beef, as if doing something normally is a new idea. This naturally raised beef is of course more expensive, but since it's technically available to anyone who wants it, we can all breathe a sigh of relief that once again, the magical market has solved the problem without any need for government intervention.

Same thing with chickens. We can buy chickens that have been fed actual chicken shit as part of their diet, or we can buy chickens that have been fed, you know, food. But if you want chickens that were raised on a diet of food, you need to pay more. Since there is a choice, then there's no need for government intervention.

And on it goes. Anyone who thinks it's really important to eat food that won't do more harm than good will obviously choose to buy that type of food. If they aren't choosing to buy that type of food, then it must not be really important to them. They just have different priorities.

That those priorities may involve paying mortgages or rent, or making sure that one's family actually has enough calories to survive is not part of this argument. If it were part of this argument, then those who make it would be exposed as idiots, wouldn't they?

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