Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fake Foods

Fake Foods: Fried, Fast, and Processed The Incredibly Disgusting Story Paula Johanson

Processed food is disgusting*. It’s bad for you and it’s bad for the earth. I’m not going to argue the premise.
But… I still had problems with this book.

At one point Johanson seems to be ok with moderation but then she tells me that “Digesting a single fatty fried meal can cause lasting problems.” She often paints restaurants as bad, but then when you unpack it a bit, all chain restaurants are inherently bad and local, small restaurants are good. Because life is that clear cut. And small restaurants don't have a deep fryer? I mean, Duck Fat fries will probably kill me, even if they're organic and locally sourced and from a small restaurant, but they're super tasty fatty. And, fried.

Really, I feel the main problem is that she doesn’t get into the nuances of the issue enough. There are food issues in this country, but I have a problem with how we discuss food, how we demonize it, and how we fetishize it. And I think that how we approach it is not helping the problem. (I love this blog post about the issue) This book hit every single one of my food-related buttons. I think another Cybil-nominated book, Food for a Greener Planet is a MUCH better look at the issues at play. However, it’s also for teens and this book is for middle grade. Food for A Greener Planet can go more in-depth because it’s over twice the length

And, while we’re on the topic and because I'm feeling snarky, I wanted to embed a clip from Parks and Rec where Ron and Matt have a burger cook-off. But all the clips I found never delivered the clincher line of "cow beats turkey." *Sigh*. It's Season 3, Episode 10, Soulmates. You should watch it.

*Like, on an intellectual level. A lot of it is actually super-tasty.

Book Provided by... library ILL

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1 comment:

Paula said...

So glad you reviewed the book! I sure had to sum things up quickly in a few words. You're so right that a longer book can go more in depth. I'm glad this series of books includes references in the back, including recommended reading.
My line saying that "Digesting a single fatty fried meal can cause lasting problems" was followed right away by an explanation of how that can happen -- "A gallstone that previously caused no warning symptoms may suddenly block the duct and cause permanent damage to both the gall bladder and the pancreas." Not a pretty thought, but it happens.
As for Duck fat fries, you and my partner have convinced me! The french fries my partner makes use our good local potatoes and that silky duck fat Bernie saves when cooking a duck raised here on the island. Bring on the Duck fat fries once in a while!