This Boston Phoenix review of the new film Food, Inc. contains much many people already know (it’s nice to review such things from time to time, though), but it contains one essential thought, anyway: that “You can’t have health care [reform] in this country without changing the food industry”.
Why the cheap, mass-produced food we eat is killing our environment, our economy–and us
By MIKE MILIARD | June 25, 2009
Since Squanto taught the Pilgrims to plant maize, no food has been more emblematic of the evolution of American eating habits than corn. That’s been true from the sepia-tinged golden age of the Midwestern breadbasket to the present day, where those yellow kernels are lab-engineered and recombinated into a dizzying array of futuristic foodstuffs.
In Mark Kurlansky’s new anthology, The Food of a Younger Land (Riverhead–which compiles reportage and recipes from “America Eats,” an unfinished venture of the Depression-era WPA Federal Writers’ Project — we visit Pop Corn Days in North Loup, Nebraska. There, fairgoers munched from “bushels of popped fluffiness” while watching the procession of the Pop Corn Queen, “heralded by buglers with green capes over their uniforms . . . regal in her robes of lustrous gold satin.” We also learn how, across the Midwest, corn was “cultivated for uses in ‘johnny-cake,’ corn mush, ‘big hominy,’ ash-cake, corn whisky, corn pone, or the small loaves called ‘corn dodgers.’ “