American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It) is an odorous odyssey through our fouled-up food chain. From farm to market to plate to garbage can, journalist Jonathan Bloom exposes a culture that promotes a grotesque amount of waste. Read more
Does the term “white bread” say “all things ‘burby and bland,” to you? Don’t be fooled by this über-processed slice of whiteness. Beneath its pale golden crust, white bread whispers some dark truths about our values: we cherish convenience and shelf life above taste and texture; cheapness is next to godliness, wellness be damned; and man can always find a way to improve on nature.
Highly refined flour has only the wheat’s starchy endosperm, minus the nutritious–but more perishable–bran and germ. No nutrients? No problem! Just add a bunch of vitamins and minerals at the end of the process. Problem solved.
It’s whole grains that go against the grain in America. Too darned assertive, and so time-consuming to chew! Our allegiance to this Pillsbury-Doughboy-pokable/Play-Doh-pliable product symbolizes, above all, a culture that resists resistance, and has better things to do than chew. Read more
Chalk up another victory for Stephen Colbert’s gut. Back in January, the touter of all things truthy declared Domino’s Pizza his “Alpha Dog of The Week” for a “game-changing ad campaign” to promote its new pizza recipe. Consumers had complained that the old formula tasted like ketchup-covered cardboard, a factor that presumably contributed to the company’s sagging sales.
So, Domino’s did two things: it reformulated its pizzas to contain nearly twice as much cheese; and launched an ad campaign which took the bold step of acknowledging just how awful its old pizzas were, while gushing about the “cheese, cheese, CHEESE!!!” that distinguishes the new recipe from the old one.
With the logos of Goldman Sachs, Citibank, Fannie Mae, Bank of America, and AIG on display behind him, Colbert applauded Domino’s “for joining the great American corporate tradition of screwing your customers and then having the balls to ask them to come back for more.”
Turns out that Domino’s had something else in common with these ethically challenged entities, aside from the dubious products they dumped on unwitting dupes. Read more
With beehives, chicken coops, and rooftop farms popping up all over Brooklyn, it’s high time us city folks revived that end of summer ritual, the county fair. After all, the county of Brooklyn–Kings County, to be precise–is a hotbed of horticultural happenings. Why should blue ribbon pies, pickles, and produce be limited to rural regions when we’re growing great stuff and baking up a storm right here in our neck of the not-so-woodsy woods? Read more
Chelsea Clinton is so definitely getting married in Rhinebeck this weekend. All the signs point to it — like the one two miles down the road from Astor Courts (the presumed wedding locale), which reads: “Chelsea and Marc — congratulations from Rhinecliff’s Morton Memorial Library! Stop in for your wedding gift — your own free-for-life library card!!!” Read more
If correctly identifying your problems is the first step to solving them, I’m afraid we’ll all be peeling tar balls off our heels before we get a handle on the BP blowout.
“Please stop calling it a leak!” Bill KcKibben pleaded at the Slow Money conference in Shelburne, Vermont last month. A leak, after all, suggests a kind of dribble. A spill sounds like something you might mop up with a towel.
“We’ve punched a hole in the bottom of the ocean,” McKibben added. “Is a knife wound a ‘blood leak?’”
We’re hitting some fundamental limits, he added, citing the ‘thousand year’ storms that seem to come every four or five years now, and the fact that we’re facing the hottest year on record, so far (and that was before the heat wave that hit the whole Eastern seaboard this past week).
Yes, we need to plug that hole in the ocean floor before the entire Gulf becomes one gigantic dead zone. But there’s an onshore contaminant threatening our future, too, and it’s called fast money. Read more
Remember when Fox pundit Michelle Malkin accused Rachael Ray of being a terrorist sympathizer because she wore a Middle Eastern-ish scarf in a Dunkin’ Donuts ad? I’m not sure what was more absurd about that episode: Malkin’s unhinged hysteria, or Dunkin’ Donuts’ profile in cowardice (they yanked the ad.)
But Malkin got one thing right: Rachael Ray is far more radical than I even dared hope. She took Capitol Hill by storm yesterday, armed with some very sharp talking points, and fired them directly at the lawmakers who actually have the power to improve the lousy school lunches we’re dis-serving our kids: Read more
Chicago hip hop artist D-Nick The Microphone Misfit teamed up with B-Boy Super inLight to create “Abnormality“, a track for the opening of Graffiti and Grub, the Chicago health food store founded by activist LaDonna Redmond. Their video highlights the physical health issues brought on by artificial, processed foods and encourages us all to look at what we’re putting into our bodies.
D-Nick and Super inLight both embrace the acronym HIP HOP for “Healthy Independent People Helping Other People” and they are doing just that, using their talents to get the word out that “Eating healthy is the first step in disease prevention.” D-Nick has entered the video in The One Chicago, One Nation film contest, whose goal is to reward “videos that tell the stories of people in Chicago from different backgrounds working together for the common good.”
KT: Monday’s New York Times had an editorial supporting the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, a bill that would give the US Agriculture Department “new powers to set nutritional standards for any food sold on school grounds, particularly junk foods that contribute to obesity.”
The current standards leave a lot to be desired, as Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution has revealed. In the first episode, Jamie stood accused of shortchanging the kids on carbohydrates because he omitted the bread from a meal that already included rice.
Last Friday, in episode three, Jamie found himself charged with the violation of “insufficient vegetables,” despite the fact that his noodle-based entree featured seven different vegetables. The remedy? Add a bunch of french fries to the meal to meet the veggie quota.
How did the USDA’s school lunch standards ever get so nutritionally nutty? Would passage of the CNA support the wholesome, made-from-scratch meals that Jamie Oliver’s trying to bring back to our cafeterias? Read more