The good, the bad, and all the rest of it.

Just been doing a lot of reading and thinking lately.

“In line with his overall body of work, Pollan suggests in Cooked that even to discuss the science of food is to begin the slide down a slippery slope that ends in the culturally corrosive and ecologically unsustainable structures of agribusiness. Put simply, ‘good’ transformations of the edible world are premodern and elemental, while ‘bad’ ones are industrial and high tech.”

Michael Pollan’s Dilemma

“As an historian I cannot accept the account of the past implied by Culinary Luddism, a past sharply divided between good and bad, between the sunny rural days of yore and the grey industrial present…The Luddites’ fable of disaster, of a fall from grace, smacks more of wishful thinking than of digging through archives. It gains credence not from scholarship but from evocative dichotomies: fresh and natural versus processed and preserved; local versus global; slow versus fast; healthful versus contaminated and fatty. History shows, I believe, that the Luddites have things back to front.”

A Plea for Culinary Modernism

“‘Cooking is a language,’ writes Lévi-Strauss, ‘through which society unconsciously reveals its structure.’…But because these categories of [raw, cooked, and rotten] food are constructed by words, associations, and oppositions, it’s easy for food marketers to misleadingly align an image of their product with our expectations of rawness, naturalness, or healthiness. Hence, ‘health halo’: yogurt, for example, is almost universally accepted to be a more natural, wholesome alternative to ice cream — even though some yogurts are just as loaded with processed, denaturalized sugars. Juicing tends to push our buttons for ‘pure’ food although the processing strips out many of the vital plant nutrients. Even the much-debunked Paleo diet depends on an opposition between the raw and the cooked—obviously dieters are not meant to eat raw proteins, but the appeal of the system lies the imagined foodscape of a simpler, more ‘natural’ time.”

Raw, Cooked, Rotten

Royal Fruit Gelatin back

Gelatin: Pure AND modern.

Read anything interesting lately?

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