I randomly read a post on Facebook last week that got me riled up and I am still thinking about it. I wish I had the forethought to save the link but you just get my thoughts.
The food industry is full of amazing discoveries, creative technologies and fascinating ideas. During graduate school I was close friends with several students conducting research in the food science field: stabilizers, coloring, films to protect vegetables, preservatives to extend shelf life. It is really impressive what you can do to manufacture food. And I always thought that you cooked food.
One of the hottest topics in the food industry is the shift away from artificial colorings to natural colorings. I like the sound of that, so I read on. Someone is working on a way to take the smell and flavor out of paprika so that children can have the right shade of orange drink. My question is “How orange does an orange flavored drink need to be to taste like orange???”. Someone out there actually knows the answer to this question!!! Why not just give the kid an actual orange?
My kids don’t get a lot of manufactured foods. I make lasagna, macaroni and cheese, oatmeal bars, sloppy joes, cookies, finger steaks and dinner in a dish (our form of Hamburger Helper) all from scratch. I do use natural coloring and flavors – real meat, real vegetables and real fruit. It takes some planning but not much more time. Making freezer meals with a friend can get you a freezer full of the same meals you buy at the supermarket…yours will be cooked not manufactured.
Delicious, healthy foods come in many different forms. Some may be in a cellophane wrapper full of the latest advances in the food science field. I would argue that most delicious healthy foods are found in the fresh fruit and vegetable section and in the refrigerated meat and dairy sections. The food that isn’t already put together with preservatives and flavorings, but the food that is waiting for you to season to your preference.
I don’t want to put that paprika farmer who is eagerly anticipating a new market out of business. I want that farmer to sell delicious paprika for grill rubs and fresh deviled eggs. I want the next generation to understand that bright orange, blue and red foods don’t taste better than their mom’s (or dad’s) homemade lasagna. I want their favorite cookies to come from a family recipe not Keebler. I want them to know how to cook a steak, chicken and roast.
I want them to appreciate and understand that food is cooked – from natural ingredients: meats, vegetables, herbs and spices. Ingredients that are grown or produced on the land not manufactured in a factory.