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Friday, November 28, 2008

Food Thoughts

Before I download the ton of pictures of food, food and more food from the bountiful Thanksgiving celebration, here are two articles with a holiday slant that caught my attention yesterday:

The WIRED magazine blog network offers an fascinating historical look at the "evolution" of some of the staple Thanksgiving foods - turkey, corn and potatoes in the piece Give Thanks? Science Supersized Your Turkey Dinner. It is quite startling and unsettling to see what selective breading can do in such a short time. Over the last century turkeys have more than doubled in size, the sugar content in corn has trippled and the starch content of potatoes has increased by just as much. The majority of the changes are genetic. I wonder if genetic uniformity of staple foods is a good idea... probably not. Despite what the article seems to imply, feed corn is really not nasty! It is not as sweet, and has a stronger corn taste and more crispy bite but who said that corn must be sweet anyways? So, creationism, anyone?

On the opposite end of the spectrum - from abundance and sugar highs to scarcity and community food banks - comes this article in about the rebirth of gleaning across the country - Sharing the bounty. Gleaning (portrayed in this Millet painting from 1857) is the practice of gathering grain or produce after the reaper, to collect the left-overs after the main harvest has been completed. With startling 27 to 50 percent of food in the USA going to waste while 11 precent of US households experience or are at risk of hunger, the efforts of non-profit organizations like Second Harvest which work to supply produce for food banks, school cafeterias, senior centers and soup kitchens are admirable.

Happy Post-Thanksgiving! I'm off to play football and burn some of the chipotle-mashed-yams-sage-mashed-potatoes-deep-fried-yucca-tofurkey-cornbread-stuffing-two-types-of-cranberry-sauce-mocha-pecan-pie-pumpkin-rice-krispies-etc. fiesta calories from yesterday.

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