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Ch. 7 - The meal: fast food

#31: Oct. - Dec. 2006 (Non-Fiction)
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Chris OConnor

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Ch. 7 - The meal: fast food

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Use this thread for discussing Chapter 7, The meal: fast food. Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 10/1/06 11:57 pm
AubreyAlexis

Re: Ch. 7 - The meal: fast food

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I was horrified when I read the corn content that was found through the carbon tests on that McDonald's meal. Up to this point, much of what Pollan wrote read like a story. This chapter though, put it all into images I understood. Industry is changing the food chain and the "circle of life" in such huge ways.Has anyone read recently about the decline in fish and wine over the next century?
MadArchitect

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Re: Ch. 7 - The meal: fast food

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Welcome to the fold, Aubrey (or should we call you Alexis?). It's always nice to see a new moniker around here. If you don't mind my asking, did this discussion bring you to BookTalk, or did you find BookTalk and then decide to jump in on the discussion?I believe Mr. P posted an article in the Science forum about the coming decline in seafood. Horrifying stuff, really.One thing that struck me about this chapter, is Pollan's honesty about the emotional ties he feels with a fast food industry like McDonald's. It's a piece of Americana, in some ways, and I think one of the raw, maybe unappealing facts that we may have to face here is that we're breaking with what is essentially tradition. It's new tradition, in the grander scheme of things, but tradition none-the-less.Everyone so far involved in the discussion has voiced some dismay at the state of the food industry in America, but we haven't really gotten around to recognizing all the things that we'd have to give up to divorce ourselves from it. And I don't mean the food itself, though I certainly feel an attachment to fast food french fries. For a lot of Americans, fast food dining has become the centerpiece of family life, their only edible connection to their family. And that's a pretty big deal, if you look at the role that food and dining plays in a lot of family and culture.So if we're serious about reforming food in this nation, then I think we're also going to find that we need to be serious about cultural institutions related to food. Family is only one instance. Is it possible, for another, to have the sort of corporate structure we have, with 30 or 60 minute lunch breaks, without some sort of dependence on industrial food? How will a switch away from industrial food effect us economically? And so on.
AubreyAlexis

Chapter 7; Fast Food

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Thank you for the welcome MadArchitect! My interest was a little bit of both... I have been looking for intelligent online disussions on books and found BookTalk. It just so happened that The Omnivore's Dilemma was one of the books on my list!Regarding fast food... the two "fast foods" that I am accustomed to eating is delivery pizza (and not the good kind as I am in Colorado Springs) and Jamba Juice. I'm sure those both have their own separate issues. Though Jamba Juice is supposed to be healthy and the ingredients of high quality, the fruit is imported from all over the world and they use sucralose, which is a sweetener that the body doesn't recognize as carbs (is this the beginning of the food industry producing food that we don't digest so we will buy more of it?!). They have a game on their website in which you need to beat the bad guys (fast food) in order to win. Is Jamba Juice another example of something like Big Organic? Is it also industrial food?
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Re: Chapter 7; Fast Food

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Hi Aubrey! Good to have someone else in here...Mad -- you brought up an interesting question -- has the food industry changed the way we do the corporate 'lunch hour'?People make their own lunches -- I know my husband does. And yes, it's often the pre-prepared stuff, items he can just throw in a bag. I'm not the kind of person who makes food ahead of time, parcels out, freezes it, to be taken to work and nuked. (We don't own a microwave, as I don't like what they do to the texture of food) Maybe I should do that.I've been going on about whole food, and changing the way we eat, but I'm not working on that one area, a 5-day-a-week issue...So again, convenience over health wins. "All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds." Loricat's Book NookCelebrating the Absurd
MadArchitect

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Loricat: Mad -- you brought up an interesting question -- has the food industry changed the way we do the corporate 'lunch hour'?I'd say that industrial food has made it possible. I'm not sure that you could have considered, prior to the introduction of some of the methods Pollan describes, a meal to be something that you could regiment the same way you'd regiment a business presentation.(We don't own a microwave, as I don't like what they do to the texture of food)I don't own a microwave, either, and I don't like using them in other people's houses. One reason is that I think we've surrendered a lot of our standards concerning taste and enjoyment to some ideal of saving a few extra minutes. Microwave oatmeal, for instance. As far as I can tell, the major difference between microwave oatmeal (or any "quick" version of oatmeal) is that the company uses broken oats to cut down on the amount of time needed to hydrate and cook the oats. And how much time does that save? "Quick" oatmeal usually take about 2-3 minutes to cook. Whole oatmeal takes 3-5 minutes. If you're so pressed for time that you can't spare and extra 2 minutes, you've got problems too big for microwave oatmeal to solve.Or try microwave popcorn. Have you ever tried to cook popcorn in a pan? It's practically instant anyway, so I'm not sure what's saved (certainly not money) by buying it prepackaged and irradiating it.Of course, the big advantage to a microwave is microwave meals -- the prepackaged, prepared meal of, say, teriyaki beef over brown rice with vegetables. The time spent cooking is only marginally less, I suppose, but it's the time preparing the foods for cooking -- chopping, mixing, cleaning, and so on -- that's saved. And that might almost make it worth it, if I had ever tasted a prepackaged meal that I enjoyed as much as a fresh cooked meal.But I doubt I ever will.
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