Fearful Symmetries

Witness a machine turn coffee into pointless ramblings...

28 April, 2009

What Grandparents Ate

I finally got around to reading Linda Falkenstein’s article in the latest Isthmus called "Rebuilding the Burger" which examined the veggie burger or hamburger replacement patties made of nuts, soy, vegetables, etc. At one point, Robert Miller of Nature's Bakery is quoted about their products:

"The ingredients are on the label, and you recognize all of them as food," says Miller, perhaps unconsciously playing off one of Pollan's maxims: "Don't eat anything your grandparents wouldn't recognize as food."

Two things occurred to me when I read this. First is that Michael Pollan's maxim will soon have to be reworked to something like "Don't eat anything your great-grandparents wouldn't recognize as food". The grandparents that survived The Great Depression and fought World War II are quickly dying and being replaced by Baby Boomers who grew up in suburbs eating at the new fast food joints or in front of the idiot box with a TV dinner sitting on a TV tray. Fast food and convenience foods are a post-WWII phenomenon and so there is an ever-growing number of grandparents these days who recognize a lot of crap as food.

The second thing which popped into my mind was whether a member of Tom Brokaw's favored generation would recognize a veggie burger as food. According to Wikipedia, the veggie burger was invented in 1982 while this site claims it was a year earlier. This leads me to believe that my recently departed grandmother, who died at age 93 back in January, would indeed recognize Nature's Bakery's tofu-walnut burgers as food – food for farm animals.

Similarly, I don't think she'd recognize "veggie bacon" or "Facon", as I call it, as food for people.



It looks more like a movie prop than something edible. This kind of shit is the true "Frankenfood".

If you want to know what your grandparents or great-grandparents ate before Swanson's introduced the TV dinner, go ask Clara, a 93 year-old great-grandmother who demonstrates what many ate during The Great Depression on YouTube. Here's part 1:

|| Palmer, 10:54 AM

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