The Homogenization of American Food.

There are an awful lot of “convenience” foods available today. From canned foods to frozen-prepared foods all the way to fast food. There are more options available today than ever. These “food” manufacturers are dictating what food “should” taste like. No longer is the croissant that a Parisian baker produces after years or more of training considered the standard. Now it’s the big-as-your-head croissant that you pick up at your local big box store that resembles little of its namesake.

We all make decisions on what food to eat. As a Chef, I feel I have a professional obligation to uphold. I am faced with many options. There are so many food manufacturers that want me to purchase their ready made crap. “Flash frozen at it’s peak” they say.  “Thaw and serve. Cut down on labor. Increase consistency.”   Sound wonderful, no?

I fear food manufacturers. They are huge. Their products are distributed far and wide. The goal is to manufacture these “foods” as cheaply as possible which often include absurd amounts of fats, sugars and salt.  They begin to dictate what pesto sauce or crab (“krab”) stuffed sole or croissants should taste like. The more people purchase and consume these products for their cheap convenience, the less we come to appreciate what real, home made food tastes like without all the fillers or additives. Why artisan bread from one region of the world tastes different than the other. The more restaurants that purchase and use Sysco’s latest “thaw and serve” product, the less we can appreciate a chef’s own ability to create the same thing from whole foods. So the “krab” stuffed sole you had last week at Bubba’s Fish House will taste the same as the one from Bojo’s Krab Shack because they get them from Sysco. For crying out loud, I can now buy caramelized onions, thaw and serve. God help us!

I promise I will make all my food from scratch using whole foods. My buttermilk dressing will not taste like “Hidden Valley” and my Mac n Cheese will not taste like Kraft. And this, I am proud of. Keep this in mind the next time you crave something “convenient” or manufactured. The Kraft’s and the Tyson’s should not and cannot be dictating what food should taste like.

Google “food manufacturing” if you want to be scared.  Then thank the one who taught you how to cook.  Then use that skill.  Get back to tradition.

One Response

  1. AMEN to this! Great article. I am tweeting this!

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