Ross Hume Hall,
Attending a food-industry exposition in Atlanta, GA, I walked up to a Kraft Foods booth, intrigued by a sign that said, "Restricted Cheese Sauces". Having never heard the term before, I asked the man standing next to the sign, " What does restricted mean?"
"You can pour one of these sauces over an entree, heat it to 350° F. and it won’t run. It holds its shape."
"You could blow torch it and it won’t melt?"
"Yeah, pretty close."
The Industrial Welsh Rarebit
This is industrial-strength cheese designed for fabricating meals in the factory. Take , for instance, a Welsh Rarebit, a cheese sauce poured over an English muffin. Sounds simple, but try making 100,000 at a time, 25 tons of cheese sauce.
Each serving has to look professional, the right touch of cheese sauce on top--not in a puddle on the side. Factory cooking is not home-cooking on a larger scale. Ingredients like the cheeses you use in the kitchen would turn into a tarry melt in the factory cooker.
A restricted cheese sauce is one of many inventions that simplify life for restaurant chefs. A cheese-topped baked dish or the Welsh Rarebit, mass-produced, is frozen, trucked and stored (for goodness how long) and then thawed to order in the restaurant.
The entree comes to the table fresh out of the microwave, symmetrically perfect, perhaps with a garnish, giving the impression the chef created your dish from scratch. It tastes fine, you feel fine afterwards. But like frozen-dough bread, your cells have to contend with a mess of chemical additives and treatments.
The food technologists have created an oven-proof cheese at a cost of destroying any spirit of nutrition. Your cells will groan and, over time, the continued stress leads to something in the body seizing up whether the bowel or an artery.
You can’t tell from labels the provenance of the cheese. If you compare the nutrition label for blow-torch cheese with the label for a naturally produced cheddar, you won’t see much difference, about the same amount of protein, fat and calcium. The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA's) scientific ability to assess nutritional quality and food safety has lagged far behind the industry’s capacity to create new foods.
FDA says as long as the blow-torch cheese delivers protein, fat and calcium it considers the cheese is safe to eat. You as a consumer are unable to tell the difference because the label doesn’t disclose the heat-shield capabilities of the cheese. And if you eat in a restaurant, forget it. No labeling is required. Only your sense of taste guides you, at best unreliable.
A Social Revolution in Food and Eating
Blow-torch cheese is an example of social revolution in food and eating. The century of the mobile stomach has arrived. Home cooking has gone the way of the horse and buggy. Foods come in easily opened packages requiring little or no cooking. Just tear and eat.
People graze 24 hours a day through convenience marts, supermarkets, vending machines, delis, and fast-food restaurants. Grazing makes it difficult to judge how much you eat, almost impossible to balance what you eat.
This food revolution is driven by an industry eager to exploit the desire for instant gratification of hunger pangs. But at a price.
Instant foods have to undergo chemical hardening against spoilage, which undercuts the food’s basic nutrition. Moreover, hardening disables traditional ways--protein percentage, fat grams, etc.--of judging nutritional quality.
The Unchanging Human Body
So what does the food revolution mean to you? You have the same old human body handed down through ancestral genes. Food quality changes, but basic human needs do not. And there’s the rub.
All those diet-related diseases and ballooning waists are tell-tale signs that Americans choose foods that do not fulfill the body’s basic needs.
The Purpose of the Smart Nutrition Guide
The food system is remarkably diverse, from the mediocre to the superb. We need a much better way of assessing and choosing what we eat. Describing food products in terms of number of calories or number of fat grams or percentage of protein doesn't work with modern food products..
These numbers tell you nothing of what the food is going to do when it lands in your body. Will it supply steady energy or instead a big spike followed by an empty fuel tank? Will the food supply body building blocks? Will the food because it isn't much good for fuel or building blocks be dumped into fat?
Smart Nutrition Guide provides a brand a new and realistic way of looking at foods.
© Copyright 2001, Ross Hume Hall. All rights reserved.