Modern & Postmodern Food

My friend Rich Shipe proposes a topic: He writes, “Has anyone done anything on Modernism and Post-Modernism and their impact on the food we eat? For food are we still under Modernism or have we moved into post-modern food? Americans generally eat garbage and what we eat is certainly not classical!” He then offers some tasty quotes from Michael Pollan, author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “In Defense of Food”:

Michael Pollan: Food’s under attack from two quarters. It’s under attack from the food industry, which is taking, you know, perfectly good whole foods and tricking them up into highly processed edible foodlike substances, and from nutritional science, which has over the years convinced us that we shouldn’t be paying attention to food, it’s really the nutrients that matter. And they’re trying to replace foods with antioxidants, you know, cholesterol, saturated fat, omega-3s, and that whole way of looking at food as a collection of nutrients, I think, is very destructive.

and…

Pollan: Nutritionism is the prevailing ideology in the whole world of food. And it’s not a science. It is an ideology. And like most ideologies, it is a set of assumptions about how the world works that we’re totally unaware of. And nutritionism, there’s a few fundamental tenets to it. One is that food is a collection of nutrients, that basically the sum of — you know, food is the sum of the nutrients it contains. The other is that since the nutrient is the key unit and, as ordinary people, we can’t see or taste or feel nutrients, we need experts to help us design our foods and tell us how to eat.

Another assumption of nutritionism is that you can measure these nutrients and you know what they’re doing, that we know what cholesterol is and what it does in our body or what an antioxidant is. And that’s a dubious proposition.

And the last premise of nutritionism is that the whole point of eating is to advance your physical health and that that’s what we go to the store for, that’s what we’re buying. And that’s also a very dubious idea. If you go around the world, people eat for a great many reasons besides, you know, the medicinal reason. I mean, they eat for pleasure, they eat for community and family and identity and all these things. But we’ve put that aside with this obsession with nutrition.

And I basically think it’s a pernicious ideology. I mean, I don’t think it’s really helping us. If there was a trade-off, if looking at food this way made us so much healthier, great. But in fact, since we’ve been looking at food this way, our health has gotten worse and worse.

To shoehorn this into the modern/postmodern explanatory paradigm, this nutritionist mindset would be modernist with all of that scientific reductionism, reducing food to nutritional chemicals and the intangible pleasures of food to good health, as if a meal were really a medicine. There is a postmodern cuisine, which tries to be multicultural, unequally yoking traditional foods from different cultures (e.g., sushi tacos), but the true postmodernist cuisine I think is fast food: It offers a superficially pleasurable taste-sensation, but is bad for us, and is stripped of all family, traditional, and aesthetic meaning, but can be justified because “this is what people like.”

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.simdan.com SimDan

    This touches on two aspects of food that have bothered me for quite a while. For nutrition, keep with the four food groups and you will be OK. Go much beyond that and things get iffy, especially since one day a nutrient can be deemed “good” for us and the next day it’s suddenly “bad.”

    Other people seem to think I am uptight when I rant about postmodern pizza. If I wanted a cheeseburger, I would not have ordered a pizza. Then there is the “dessert” pizza with a very poor clash of sugar and salt. The farthest I am willing to go with non-traditional pizza is Hawaiian pizza.

    On the other hand, am I one of the few that detests the minimalism that is cheese pizza? I equate cheese pizza to hanging a bare canvas on the wall and calling it art.

  • http://www.simdan.com SimDan

    This touches on two aspects of food that have bothered me for quite a while. For nutrition, keep with the four food groups and you will be OK. Go much beyond that and things get iffy, especially since one day a nutrient can be deemed “good” for us and the next day it’s suddenly “bad.”

    Other people seem to think I am uptight when I rant about postmodern pizza. If I wanted a cheeseburger, I would not have ordered a pizza. Then there is the “dessert” pizza with a very poor clash of sugar and salt. The farthest I am willing to go with non-traditional pizza is Hawaiian pizza.

    On the other hand, am I one of the few that detests the minimalism that is cheese pizza? I equate cheese pizza to hanging a bare canvas on the wall and calling it art.

  • Bruce

    If there is such a thing as “nutritionism”, I think the effect it is having is good. There will always be the far fringe of any group, but the overall effect of an emphasis on “eating for the body’s sake” will NEVER overcome the insatiable desires of the masses for comfort food. And comfort food, let me be perfectly clear, is NEVER good for the body. Not in the long run. In this field, I am an expert.
    So a little radical food input into the culture of what we eat is a good thing, I think. I’ll also add that I LIKE the multicultural element of today’s food offerings. Here in Madison, we have a veritable plethora of foreign restaurants. Our favorite are the Indian restaurants–so much to teach us about the creative use of spices. Not to mention Whole Foods (“Whole Paycheck”). I go there just to people watch.

    I’ve just come off a little five-day juice fast: green liquid gunk interspersed with juices of various fruits, and then back to the liquid gunk again. Like licking the underside of a wet lawn mower. No comfort except in taking the long view, but I’ll feel better for it in a few days.

    I’m heading out for a cheeseburger.

  • Bruce

    If there is such a thing as “nutritionism”, I think the effect it is having is good. There will always be the far fringe of any group, but the overall effect of an emphasis on “eating for the body’s sake” will NEVER overcome the insatiable desires of the masses for comfort food. And comfort food, let me be perfectly clear, is NEVER good for the body. Not in the long run. In this field, I am an expert.
    So a little radical food input into the culture of what we eat is a good thing, I think. I’ll also add that I LIKE the multicultural element of today’s food offerings. Here in Madison, we have a veritable plethora of foreign restaurants. Our favorite are the Indian restaurants–so much to teach us about the creative use of spices. Not to mention Whole Foods (“Whole Paycheck”). I go there just to people watch.

    I’ve just come off a little five-day juice fast: green liquid gunk interspersed with juices of various fruits, and then back to the liquid gunk again. Like licking the underside of a wet lawn mower. No comfort except in taking the long view, but I’ll feel better for it in a few days.

    I’m heading out for a cheeseburger.

  • http://www.hempelstudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    I can’t wait to get my hands on this book. Everyone I know who has read it has much praise for it! I try to enjoy food, but because of all of my medical problems, it has become more about medicine and nutrition than pleasure. I have to make sure that I get enough omega-3s and protien, etc. It isn’t about cultural identity or communion. For me the wrong foods make me sick. I honestly, don’t think I’d be in this situation if I belonged to a traditional food culture all of my life. Problems like mine (chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia) are largely Western problems. The frightening thing is that I eat, what nutritionists would consider, a very healthy diet. Traditionalists might see it otherwise!

    Still, I ask the plaguing Modern question, “What should I have for dinner?”

  • http://www.hempelstudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    I can’t wait to get my hands on this book. Everyone I know who has read it has much praise for it! I try to enjoy food, but because of all of my medical problems, it has become more about medicine and nutrition than pleasure. I have to make sure that I get enough omega-3s and protien, etc. It isn’t about cultural identity or communion. For me the wrong foods make me sick. I honestly, don’t think I’d be in this situation if I belonged to a traditional food culture all of my life. Problems like mine (chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia) are largely Western problems. The frightening thing is that I eat, what nutritionists would consider, a very healthy diet. Traditionalists might see it otherwise!

    Still, I ask the plaguing Modern question, “What should I have for dinner?”

  • fw

    the truly spiritual things in our lives with the most power for evil or faith are the things that touch our body mind and spirit at the same time…

    money, sex, and food seem to top the list in that category.

    abundance usually seems to numb us to the spiritual possibilities in these things.

    we come to believe, oddly, that denying ourselves of the pleasure of these things is the path to right-eousness, or… we make the things mere means to ends, and have…. beautiful tasteless tomatoes.

    In evening prayer I sing “and God loves his whole creation.” The God who made color, smell, taste, texture, and alone gives meaning to pleasure, and alone can allow pleasure to exist as end and not means.

    He quite obviously has passion for all He has made. Including me.

    When was the last time you ate a fruit, at it´s prime? I mean ate. not merely consumed.

    When was the last time you intentionally took every ounce of pleasure out of that experience… taste, smell, texture, sight, sound…

    Eating fruit as an act of worship.

    You may ditto this with sex and money.

    Worshiping the creator by treasuring what he has made by honoring His oh so obvious intent in not creating a colorless, odor-less, utilitarian world. A world with man at it´s center but which has no place left to be human.

  • fw

    the truly spiritual things in our lives with the most power for evil or faith are the things that touch our body mind and spirit at the same time…

    money, sex, and food seem to top the list in that category.

    abundance usually seems to numb us to the spiritual possibilities in these things.

    we come to believe, oddly, that denying ourselves of the pleasure of these things is the path to right-eousness, or… we make the things mere means to ends, and have…. beautiful tasteless tomatoes.

    In evening prayer I sing “and God loves his whole creation.” The God who made color, smell, taste, texture, and alone gives meaning to pleasure, and alone can allow pleasure to exist as end and not means.

    He quite obviously has passion for all He has made. Including me.

    When was the last time you ate a fruit, at it´s prime? I mean ate. not merely consumed.

    When was the last time you intentionally took every ounce of pleasure out of that experience… taste, smell, texture, sight, sound…

    Eating fruit as an act of worship.

    You may ditto this with sex and money.

    Worshiping the creator by treasuring what he has made by honoring His oh so obvious intent in not creating a colorless, odor-less, utilitarian world. A world with man at it´s center but which has no place left to be human.

  • http://www.simdan.com SimDan

    Bruce,

    I don’t think that Veith is commenting on ethnic foods, but the reckless combining of such foods. (eg “sushi tacos” or “cheeseburger pizza”) Which is done with little regard to tradition, aesthetics or, as I would argue, even taste all because it is novel or the people want it.

    I’m all for trying new ideas, but most of these combinations are absurd or downright sickening. I am certainly for trying out food from different parts of the world. As you pointed out, cooks can learn from other traditions to thoughtfully improve their own food.

  • http://www.simdan.com SimDan

    Bruce,

    I don’t think that Veith is commenting on ethnic foods, but the reckless combining of such foods. (eg “sushi tacos” or “cheeseburger pizza”) Which is done with little regard to tradition, aesthetics or, as I would argue, even taste all because it is novel or the people want it.

    I’m all for trying new ideas, but most of these combinations are absurd or downright sickening. I am certainly for trying out food from different parts of the world. As you pointed out, cooks can learn from other traditions to thoughtfully improve their own food.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    I love Michael Pollan’s writing and ideas (his frequent nods to evolution notwithstanding — mentally substituting the word “designed” for “evolved” does no harm to the text, however). The Omnivore’s Dilemma has had quite an impact on the way I shop for food and eat, or at least think about such things.

    I especially appreciate his emphasis on the value of culture — not merely a set of rules for their own sake, but as a system for passing on knowledge, whether it’s explicit or not. Any culture that has been eating more or less the same food for many generations necessarily possesses a cuisine that “works”, that is sustainable and beneficial for those who eat it, regardless of science’s view of that diet (cf. “the French paradox”).

    The problem today is that, through governmental economic forces (corn subsidies) and other cultural shifts, we’ve completely lost track of what is normal to eat. We threw all those rules out. And now a lot of people are confused about what to eat, since we’re all making our own way. There are obvious parallels to the moral landscape in the past 100 years.

    SimDan (@1), I’m not sure that the “four food groups” concept is all that valuable, nor really all that traditional. At worst, it implies that 50% of our diet should come from meat and dairy. Forget about modern nutritionism — what historical cuisine ever consisted of so much meat?

    (As for the question of pizzas, it depends on how you define “traditional”, doesn’t it? I don’t consider it traditional unless it came from a wood-fired stove. And part-skim mozzarella isn’t traditional. But we’ve been making pizzas long enough in America — where tradition just means it’s been around for one generation — that a pepperoni pizza from Domino’s somehow counts as “traditional”.)

    Bruce (@2), what are you thinking of as “comfort food”? I could see that modern American comfort food — which is usually fatty and meat-heavy — might not be healthy, but I doubt your rule is true across all cultures.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    I love Michael Pollan’s writing and ideas (his frequent nods to evolution notwithstanding — mentally substituting the word “designed” for “evolved” does no harm to the text, however). The Omnivore’s Dilemma has had quite an impact on the way I shop for food and eat, or at least think about such things.

    I especially appreciate his emphasis on the value of culture — not merely a set of rules for their own sake, but as a system for passing on knowledge, whether it’s explicit or not. Any culture that has been eating more or less the same food for many generations necessarily possesses a cuisine that “works”, that is sustainable and beneficial for those who eat it, regardless of science’s view of that diet (cf. “the French paradox”).

    The problem today is that, through governmental economic forces (corn subsidies) and other cultural shifts, we’ve completely lost track of what is normal to eat. We threw all those rules out. And now a lot of people are confused about what to eat, since we’re all making our own way. There are obvious parallels to the moral landscape in the past 100 years.

    SimDan (@1), I’m not sure that the “four food groups” concept is all that valuable, nor really all that traditional. At worst, it implies that 50% of our diet should come from meat and dairy. Forget about modern nutritionism — what historical cuisine ever consisted of so much meat?

    (As for the question of pizzas, it depends on how you define “traditional”, doesn’t it? I don’t consider it traditional unless it came from a wood-fired stove. And part-skim mozzarella isn’t traditional. But we’ve been making pizzas long enough in America — where tradition just means it’s been around for one generation — that a pepperoni pizza from Domino’s somehow counts as “traditional”.)

    Bruce (@2), what are you thinking of as “comfort food”? I could see that modern American comfort food — which is usually fatty and meat-heavy — might not be healthy, but I doubt your rule is true across all cultures.

  • Joe

    My food philosophy is quite simple. 1. Try to eat he most natural variation of the food available – real cane (or beet) sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup; whole grains instead of refined/stripped flour products; real butter instead of margarine; etc. 2. Eat in moderation and consume normal pre super-sized-era portions. 3. Enjoy the food and the people you eat with. 4. Try not to lose temper when kids tell me they hate the food even though they liked it and ate it just a few weeks ago.

  • Joe

    My food philosophy is quite simple. 1. Try to eat he most natural variation of the food available – real cane (or beet) sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup; whole grains instead of refined/stripped flour products; real butter instead of margarine; etc. 2. Eat in moderation and consume normal pre super-sized-era portions. 3. Enjoy the food and the people you eat with. 4. Try not to lose temper when kids tell me they hate the food even though they liked it and ate it just a few weeks ago.

  • http://www.simdan.com SimDan

    todd-

    What I meant by using the four food groups was the rule of thumb of having some fruit, veggies, grains, meat and dairy each as a good chunk in your diet. No need to fret about getting X pounds of this and Y cups of that.

    “I don’t consider it traditional unless it came from a wood-fired stove.”

    Now you are just being a purist. ;-) But you do make reference to the highly processed food mentioned in the article. I know as a single guy, two years out of college, that I’m guilty of going for the processed, fast-food myself.

  • http://www.simdan.com SimDan

    todd-

    What I meant by using the four food groups was the rule of thumb of having some fruit, veggies, grains, meat and dairy each as a good chunk in your diet. No need to fret about getting X pounds of this and Y cups of that.

    “I don’t consider it traditional unless it came from a wood-fired stove.”

    Now you are just being a purist. ;-) But you do make reference to the highly processed food mentioned in the article. I know as a single guy, two years out of college, that I’m guilty of going for the processed, fast-food myself.

  • Pinon Coffee

    There’s a whole nother food perspective coming through–it’s got several names, but in general, it’s people who want real food, grown by real people, in a real place (preferably local). It’s coming from the Wendell Berry/hippie/eco-conscious types, and it’s also big with “crunchy cons” and a lot of homeschoolers.

    I’m inclined to like it, personally. :-) They emphasize good quality over mere convenience.

    But I haven’t heard anyone openly endorse either nutritionism (under any name) or fast-food-ism for a while. It’s getting to be quite uncool.

  • Pinon Coffee

    There’s a whole nother food perspective coming through–it’s got several names, but in general, it’s people who want real food, grown by real people, in a real place (preferably local). It’s coming from the Wendell Berry/hippie/eco-conscious types, and it’s also big with “crunchy cons” and a lot of homeschoolers.

    I’m inclined to like it, personally. :-) They emphasize good quality over mere convenience.

    But I haven’t heard anyone openly endorse either nutritionism (under any name) or fast-food-ism for a while. It’s getting to be quite uncool.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    SimDan (@8), I think I understood what you meant the first time. My point remains the same, though. The amount of meat and dairy that Americans eat is disproportionate to most cultures’ diets throughout history. Historically, people ate mostly fruit, veggies, and grains, with a little meat for flavor. It was rare for people to have a significant portion of each meal consist of meat like they do now. There was a reason slaughtering the fattened calf was saved for a big celebration. These days, we slaughter it (or, rather, have someone slaughter it for us, somewhere) pretty much every week, if not every day.

    As for the young, single lifestyle of frozen pizzas and the like, well, I’ve been there. Don’t know how I came to love good food like I do now.

    I’m probably stretching it to say so, but your (smiley) comment about my being a purist reminds me a bit of the typical progression of sin. I’ve heard it said that proponents of sinful behavior first just want to be left alone, if considered inferior to the alternative behavior. Then they want to be considered equal. And finally, they want to be considered superior. One can see this in attitudes towards sexual sins.

    But one can also see it in food. Time was, pizza was a Neapolitan food, with a thin (slightly blackened) crust made in a wood-burning oven (because there weren’t really any alternatives). It wasn’t covered in cheese, but maybe was topped with some slices of mozzarella di bufalo and in-season produce or some local meat. A pizza made with part-skim cheese, canned tomato sauce, and piled on with pepperoni would have been unrecognizable to pizza eaters back in the day. Now it is that Neapolitan pizza that would be unrecognizable — and even unacceptable — to most pizza eaters. Odd, that.

    Man, I’m hungry.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    SimDan (@8), I think I understood what you meant the first time. My point remains the same, though. The amount of meat and dairy that Americans eat is disproportionate to most cultures’ diets throughout history. Historically, people ate mostly fruit, veggies, and grains, with a little meat for flavor. It was rare for people to have a significant portion of each meal consist of meat like they do now. There was a reason slaughtering the fattened calf was saved for a big celebration. These days, we slaughter it (or, rather, have someone slaughter it for us, somewhere) pretty much every week, if not every day.

    As for the young, single lifestyle of frozen pizzas and the like, well, I’ve been there. Don’t know how I came to love good food like I do now.

    I’m probably stretching it to say so, but your (smiley) comment about my being a purist reminds me a bit of the typical progression of sin. I’ve heard it said that proponents of sinful behavior first just want to be left alone, if considered inferior to the alternative behavior. Then they want to be considered equal. And finally, they want to be considered superior. One can see this in attitudes towards sexual sins.

    But one can also see it in food. Time was, pizza was a Neapolitan food, with a thin (slightly blackened) crust made in a wood-burning oven (because there weren’t really any alternatives). It wasn’t covered in cheese, but maybe was topped with some slices of mozzarella di bufalo and in-season produce or some local meat. A pizza made with part-skim cheese, canned tomato sauce, and piled on with pepperoni would have been unrecognizable to pizza eaters back in the day. Now it is that Neapolitan pizza that would be unrecognizable — and even unacceptable — to most pizza eaters. Odd, that.

    Man, I’m hungry.

  • Nancy

    For the last 2 months I have been eating a whole food, plant-based diet (no meat, fish or dairy products) allowing only fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. My total cholesterol decreased from 222 to 179 and the LDL from 132 to 101. My goal is -total-150 or lower and LDL 80 or lower. I am taking no cholesterol drugs. The western diet high in fat, sodium, sugar and highly processed foods is killing Americans. I recommend 2 books for your perusal. PREVENT AND REVERSE HEART DISEASE by Caldwell Esselstyn, a prominent thoracic surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and
    THE CHINA STUDY by Colin Campbell a world-renown epidemiologist from Cornell University. Following their advice may just save your life.

  • Nancy

    For the last 2 months I have been eating a whole food, plant-based diet (no meat, fish or dairy products) allowing only fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. My total cholesterol decreased from 222 to 179 and the LDL from 132 to 101. My goal is -total-150 or lower and LDL 80 or lower. I am taking no cholesterol drugs. The western diet high in fat, sodium, sugar and highly processed foods is killing Americans. I recommend 2 books for your perusal. PREVENT AND REVERSE HEART DISEASE by Caldwell Esselstyn, a prominent thoracic surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and
    THE CHINA STUDY by Colin Campbell a world-renown epidemiologist from Cornell University. Following their advice may just save your life.

  • kerner

    Uh-oh. The disturbing thing to me in this article is that “nutricianism” is an ideology, not science. Like climateology, we are now told, we have an industry with the appearance of science telling us how to eat, but the industry isn’t really science at all. It’s theory based on incomplete information and dressed up as science.

    I feel so betrayed. I’ve been eating stuff I didn’t like “because it’s good for me” since I was a little kid, and now I’m constantly told that the people who said “it’s good for you” didn’t know what they were talking about; nor do they know any better now.

    Well, I won’t have it! I have, in the last few years, read that red wine, wheat beer, iced tea, and dark chocolate are all good for me. I intend to consume all of these in copious amounts, and be very healthy thank you very much, and this Pollan killjoy is not gonna talk me out of it. ;)

  • kerner

    Uh-oh. The disturbing thing to me in this article is that “nutricianism” is an ideology, not science. Like climateology, we are now told, we have an industry with the appearance of science telling us how to eat, but the industry isn’t really science at all. It’s theory based on incomplete information and dressed up as science.

    I feel so betrayed. I’ve been eating stuff I didn’t like “because it’s good for me” since I was a little kid, and now I’m constantly told that the people who said “it’s good for you” didn’t know what they were talking about; nor do they know any better now.

    Well, I won’t have it! I have, in the last few years, read that red wine, wheat beer, iced tea, and dark chocolate are all good for me. I intend to consume all of these in copious amounts, and be very healthy thank you very much, and this Pollan killjoy is not gonna talk me out of it. ;)

  • http://www.simdan.com SimDan

    todd-

    Very true about the slaughtering of the fatted calf. These days we are very rich where we can afford meat in some form everyday. Once it was considered attractive to be overweight as that meant you were wealthy enough to be well fed. Now obesity is considered an epidemic in our nation, even among our poor.

    On one hand it is a sign of the tremendous blessings we have in this country. On the other hand it does cause some big problems. I guess you can have too much of a good thing.

  • http://www.simdan.com SimDan

    todd-

    Very true about the slaughtering of the fatted calf. These days we are very rich where we can afford meat in some form everyday. Once it was considered attractive to be overweight as that meant you were wealthy enough to be well fed. Now obesity is considered an epidemic in our nation, even among our poor.

    On one hand it is a sign of the tremendous blessings we have in this country. On the other hand it does cause some big problems. I guess you can have too much of a good thing.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I completely agree with kerner and just add that his comments were very refreshing after skimming through the rest. Nearly sounded like Gospel to me. God be praised for freedom in Christ to enjoy a healthy range of all the good gifts of God!

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I completely agree with kerner and just add that his comments were very refreshing after skimming through the rest. Nearly sounded like Gospel to me. God be praised for freedom in Christ to enjoy a healthy range of all the good gifts of God!

  • Another Kerner

    A very interesting topic indeed.

    Since I am a widow and all my children are grown up and eating what ever they please in their own households now, I have thrown the entire nutrition thing to the wind.

    (Probably because I have stopped cooking and baking for lots of people).

    There is only me………. and the German Shepherd Dogs.

    So I prepare food for the dogs and sometimes a litter of puppies.

    (Raw beef, oatmeal, garlic, molasses with a little virgin olive oil, and egg yokes make Satin Balls. Regular fare is a good duck and sweet potato kibble, never with any wheat or corn in it, mixed with raw ground beef, cooked liver, chicken and/or a little vanilla yogurt. Weaning puppies get oatmeal, raw beef and goat’s milk).

    Incidently, my Cholesterol is 124 and the LDL is 52.

    And that’s on a Twinkie and a Coke for Breakfast.

  • Another Kerner

    A very interesting topic indeed.

    Since I am a widow and all my children are grown up and eating what ever they please in their own households now, I have thrown the entire nutrition thing to the wind.

    (Probably because I have stopped cooking and baking for lots of people).

    There is only me………. and the German Shepherd Dogs.

    So I prepare food for the dogs and sometimes a litter of puppies.

    (Raw beef, oatmeal, garlic, molasses with a little virgin olive oil, and egg yokes make Satin Balls. Regular fare is a good duck and sweet potato kibble, never with any wheat or corn in it, mixed with raw ground beef, cooked liver, chicken and/or a little vanilla yogurt. Weaning puppies get oatmeal, raw beef and goat’s milk).

    Incidently, my Cholesterol is 124 and the LDL is 52.

    And that’s on a Twinkie and a Coke for Breakfast.

  • Another Kerner

    Addendum to #2 and #15.

    This is Wisconsin, folks.

    We eat cheese and drink Brandy through the Winter months.
    (Sometimes a dish which consists of fresh raw ground sirloin is served with raw onions on rye bread.)

    Summer fare is German Potato Salad, Bratwurst and a good Beer.

    Bruce lives near the State Capitol. Only that can account for his more exotic choices.

  • Another Kerner

    Addendum to #2 and #15.

    This is Wisconsin, folks.

    We eat cheese and drink Brandy through the Winter months.
    (Sometimes a dish which consists of fresh raw ground sirloin is served with raw onions on rye bread.)

    Summer fare is German Potato Salad, Bratwurst and a good Beer.

    Bruce lives near the State Capitol. Only that can account for his more exotic choices.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Bruce, ethnic food is TRADITIONAL eating. It’s folk culture. That’s a good thing. It’s pre-modern. Postmodern would be either the food version of pop culture or “fusion” of incompatible cultural elements (of what would be fine by themselves).

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Bruce, ethnic food is TRADITIONAL eating. It’s folk culture. That’s a good thing. It’s pre-modern. Postmodern would be either the food version of pop culture or “fusion” of incompatible cultural elements (of what would be fine by themselves).

  • Paul

    When did longevity replace quality of life as our prime objective? We all know miserable old people and very happy people who died young. I’m all for being good stewards of our health, but wouldn’t it be wiser to live well instead of live long? Oh, yes, they’re not necessarily exclusive, I know; but when did we become able to “change the color of even one hair on our head” or add even one day to the length of our lives? Again, the arrogance of the “modern” age.

    As for me, let my life reflect the glory of God through faith in Christ! Let me raise my children to know the proper fear of the Lord and joy of salvation in Jesus! And then let the length of my days be in the hands of God who loves me and gives me all things through Christ!

    “A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work.” Eccl. 2:24

  • Paul

    When did longevity replace quality of life as our prime objective? We all know miserable old people and very happy people who died young. I’m all for being good stewards of our health, but wouldn’t it be wiser to live well instead of live long? Oh, yes, they’re not necessarily exclusive, I know; but when did we become able to “change the color of even one hair on our head” or add even one day to the length of our lives? Again, the arrogance of the “modern” age.

    As for me, let my life reflect the glory of God through faith in Christ! Let me raise my children to know the proper fear of the Lord and joy of salvation in Jesus! And then let the length of my days be in the hands of God who loves me and gives me all things through Christ!

    “A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work.” Eccl. 2:24

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Veith (@17): except that ethnic food in the US often isn’t actually traditional — ask a person living in China what he thinks of your local Chinese restaurant. Is that what he eats at home, or what his ancestors ate? How “Mexican” is the local Mexican restaurant? To varying degrees, the answer for most forms of ethnic food here is “not so much.” Even in restaurants we consider “authentic” sometimes.

    Much ethnic food is more of a simulacrum, taking on the form of the original food, but using more easily obtainable local ingredients, or adapting to the preferences of the local, non-traditional eaters. (Trust me — if most Mexicans regularly ate what we eat in our Mexican restaurants, the entire nation would die of cholesterol poisoning within the month. And flour tortillas? What?)

    Anyhow, all that seems more postmodern to me, inasmuch as I understand the term — “allusions to historic styles” of food, to pull from the dictionary definition of the word.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Veith (@17): except that ethnic food in the US often isn’t actually traditional — ask a person living in China what he thinks of your local Chinese restaurant. Is that what he eats at home, or what his ancestors ate? How “Mexican” is the local Mexican restaurant? To varying degrees, the answer for most forms of ethnic food here is “not so much.” Even in restaurants we consider “authentic” sometimes.

    Much ethnic food is more of a simulacrum, taking on the form of the original food, but using more easily obtainable local ingredients, or adapting to the preferences of the local, non-traditional eaters. (Trust me — if most Mexicans regularly ate what we eat in our Mexican restaurants, the entire nation would die of cholesterol poisoning within the month. And flour tortillas? What?)

    Anyhow, all that seems more postmodern to me, inasmuch as I understand the term — “allusions to historic styles” of food, to pull from the dictionary definition of the word.

  • Patrick Kyle

    I think ‘nutritionism’ goes hand in hand with what my Pastor calls the false religion of dieting. A law oriented religion concerned with calories and grams of fat and carbs, inducing even casual acquaintances to confess their dietary sins, and prescribe their own penance of exercise and health club memberships to people they hardly know. I work in a grocery store and hear more than my fair share of this ridiculousness. It pervades our televisions and magazines. Our bookstores are full of books promising the magical incantations and rituals(diets and eating plans) to cure everything from being fat to having cancer. It can suck the joy right out of eating.
    I admit, some forethought should be given to food and diet with an eye toward health, but its been taken totally overboard by our culture.

  • Patrick Kyle

    I think ‘nutritionism’ goes hand in hand with what my Pastor calls the false religion of dieting. A law oriented religion concerned with calories and grams of fat and carbs, inducing even casual acquaintances to confess their dietary sins, and prescribe their own penance of exercise and health club memberships to people they hardly know. I work in a grocery store and hear more than my fair share of this ridiculousness. It pervades our televisions and magazines. Our bookstores are full of books promising the magical incantations and rituals(diets and eating plans) to cure everything from being fat to having cancer. It can suck the joy right out of eating.
    I admit, some forethought should be given to food and diet with an eye toward health, but its been taken totally overboard by our culture.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Of course, Todd. And the pop culture pulls everything in its direction (as in traditional American music being turned into “pop country”). There is a difference, though, in the different ethnic cuisines available, with some places being more authentic than others. And there is no reason why a person of one culture has to like food from another culture. Michael Bollan, by the way, says that using local ingredients is a good thing.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Of course, Todd. And the pop culture pulls everything in its direction (as in traditional American music being turned into “pop country”). There is a difference, though, in the different ethnic cuisines available, with some places being more authentic than others. And there is no reason why a person of one culture has to like food from another culture. Michael Bollan, by the way, says that using local ingredients is a good thing.

  • organshoes

    Does nutritionism spring from the presumption that disease, aging, decline, and death are our worst enemies? That they can be made into respecters of persons?
    I say pass those Twinkies, please.
    Me, I have great recipes for Emergency Fudge and Desperation Brownies. Widow’s delights.

  • organshoes

    Does nutritionism spring from the presumption that disease, aging, decline, and death are our worst enemies? That they can be made into respecters of persons?
    I say pass those Twinkies, please.
    Me, I have great recipes for Emergency Fudge and Desperation Brownies. Widow’s delights.

  • Joe

    I am not a doctor – but I am an observer and a reader and have a mother with cholesterol issues. As for our big concern with red meat and cholesterol in general please keep three things I have learned from my mother’s experiences in mind.

    1. Genetics and activity level have more to do with high cholesterol than anything else. In my family my father who ate 6 eggs, sausage, toast and a few slices of cheese for breakfast for the better part of his life has no problem with cholesterol at all. My mom who ate “right” has chronically high cholesterol. The genetic differences (dad is Norwegian and mom is Ukrainian) and the fact that my father worked outside with his hands every day was the difference. Your body will burn as fuel all of the food you eat including the cholesterol found in animal products if you are active.

    2. Red meat is the cheapest and most readily available source of vitamin D. People suffering from various forms of heart disease generally have low vitamin D levels. At this point, the link is only correlative – not causative.

    3. Cholesterol is not inherently bad. It is important; it is spackle for broken arteries. If you intake enough calcium your arties will not crack and your body will not flood an artery with spackle. It is important to keep your cholesterol in a safe rang between 200-230. My mom’s doctor was trying to keep her below 200; but we found out that people below 200 have a much higher risk of stroke than those between 200 and 230. In fact, strokes are twice as common for people below 180. If you go over 230 you chance of stroke also increases.

  • Joe

    I am not a doctor – but I am an observer and a reader and have a mother with cholesterol issues. As for our big concern with red meat and cholesterol in general please keep three things I have learned from my mother’s experiences in mind.

    1. Genetics and activity level have more to do with high cholesterol than anything else. In my family my father who ate 6 eggs, sausage, toast and a few slices of cheese for breakfast for the better part of his life has no problem with cholesterol at all. My mom who ate “right” has chronically high cholesterol. The genetic differences (dad is Norwegian and mom is Ukrainian) and the fact that my father worked outside with his hands every day was the difference. Your body will burn as fuel all of the food you eat including the cholesterol found in animal products if you are active.

    2. Red meat is the cheapest and most readily available source of vitamin D. People suffering from various forms of heart disease generally have low vitamin D levels. At this point, the link is only correlative – not causative.

    3. Cholesterol is not inherently bad. It is important; it is spackle for broken arteries. If you intake enough calcium your arties will not crack and your body will not flood an artery with spackle. It is important to keep your cholesterol in a safe rang between 200-230. My mom’s doctor was trying to keep her below 200; but we found out that people below 200 have a much higher risk of stroke than those between 200 and 230. In fact, strokes are twice as common for people below 180. If you go over 230 you chance of stroke also increases.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Veith (@21), I guess one problem with the notion of “traditional” is that it’s very slippery.

    You cite the pop maw devouring “traditional American music” and emitting “pop country”. But then, that traditional American music was, perhaps, at one point country, which was itself a product of folk music. Which, in turn, is influenced by Scottish highland folk music (I think — the one time I heard a “ceilidh”, itself an inauthentic version of the real deal, I could have sworn I was at a hoedown). And on and on. Which of these is “traditional”? And if someone points to Southern American folk as the tradition, will I be proclaimed a “purist” for instead pointing back to the Scottish tradition? :)

    The same could be said of cuisines. What ethnic cuisine is not, itself, an amalgam of traditions from other countries? Should we rule out as an awkward fusion of foreign cuisines those Italian dishes that use tomatoes or polenta? Or German dishes made with potatoes? Or Indian or Asian dishes using spicy peppers? All those ingredients come from the New World, and yet I have a hard time imagining the traditional cuisine of those areas without those ingredients.

    Of course, the New World borrowed just as much from the Old World — is a hot dog an American folk food, or a cheap knock-off of a Central European sausage?

    And I’m not knocking local ingredients — here in Oregon, we relish them (er, but usually don’t put them in relish)! You haven’t had a strawberry until you’ve had an Oregon strawberry in June, at the height of the (sadly short) season. But you’ll never have them outside of the PacNW, because the chemistry that makes them so sweet and red throughout also means they don’t travel long distances well. That and their short growing season make them a poor fit for industrial growing and distribution.

    Local foods massively decrease fuel consumption (strawberries in January have to travel thousands of miles from Chile), and preserves a local culture’s uniqueness against the pop culture. They are quite often better than non-local ingredients (January tomatoes make me cry — especially when compared to an heirloom variety in August). At least, that is, until the culture’s expectations change and a wrinkly heirloom tomato is considered “weirder” than a chalky, tasteless one.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Veith (@21), I guess one problem with the notion of “traditional” is that it’s very slippery.

    You cite the pop maw devouring “traditional American music” and emitting “pop country”. But then, that traditional American music was, perhaps, at one point country, which was itself a product of folk music. Which, in turn, is influenced by Scottish highland folk music (I think — the one time I heard a “ceilidh”, itself an inauthentic version of the real deal, I could have sworn I was at a hoedown). And on and on. Which of these is “traditional”? And if someone points to Southern American folk as the tradition, will I be proclaimed a “purist” for instead pointing back to the Scottish tradition? :)

    The same could be said of cuisines. What ethnic cuisine is not, itself, an amalgam of traditions from other countries? Should we rule out as an awkward fusion of foreign cuisines those Italian dishes that use tomatoes or polenta? Or German dishes made with potatoes? Or Indian or Asian dishes using spicy peppers? All those ingredients come from the New World, and yet I have a hard time imagining the traditional cuisine of those areas without those ingredients.

    Of course, the New World borrowed just as much from the Old World — is a hot dog an American folk food, or a cheap knock-off of a Central European sausage?

    And I’m not knocking local ingredients — here in Oregon, we relish them (er, but usually don’t put them in relish)! You haven’t had a strawberry until you’ve had an Oregon strawberry in June, at the height of the (sadly short) season. But you’ll never have them outside of the PacNW, because the chemistry that makes them so sweet and red throughout also means they don’t travel long distances well. That and their short growing season make them a poor fit for industrial growing and distribution.

    Local foods massively decrease fuel consumption (strawberries in January have to travel thousands of miles from Chile), and preserves a local culture’s uniqueness against the pop culture. They are quite often better than non-local ingredients (January tomatoes make me cry — especially when compared to an heirloom variety in August). At least, that is, until the culture’s expectations change and a wrinkly heirloom tomato is considered “weirder” than a chalky, tasteless one.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Also, Joe (@23), I can find no information on your claim that “red meat” is a significant source of vitamin D. Without delving into the larger issues of “nutrionism”, if someone wants more vitamin D, they would do well to consume more fatty fish (salmon or tuna) and, of course, get some sun.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Also, Joe (@23), I can find no information on your claim that “red meat” is a significant source of vitamin D. Without delving into the larger issues of “nutrionism”, if someone wants more vitamin D, they would do well to consume more fatty fish (salmon or tuna) and, of course, get some sun.

  • fw

    on the other hand…

    I have see some great confessional lutherans, some of who are my heroes and role models….joke about good nutrition and caring for their bodies.

    I will have this same body for eternity. The incarnation lends great meaning to my physical self. how we care for something does seem to reflect how we value it.

    Going to the gym and eating in ways that respect and value our bodies can be one of the highest forms of worship to the God who made us so wonderfully.

    Usually the crassest idolatries attack exactly those things that we should rightly value the most.

    So yes, food nutrition, and the cult of the body beautiful can become ever so easily romans chapter 1. It can also be one of the highest expressions of true faith in Jesus Christ and a profound investment in reflections on the meaning of the incarnation.

    This is a worthy debate, and is unworthy of being turned into an “I am less politically correct than you are” triviality.

  • fw

    on the other hand…

    I have see some great confessional lutherans, some of who are my heroes and role models….joke about good nutrition and caring for their bodies.

    I will have this same body for eternity. The incarnation lends great meaning to my physical self. how we care for something does seem to reflect how we value it.

    Going to the gym and eating in ways that respect and value our bodies can be one of the highest forms of worship to the God who made us so wonderfully.

    Usually the crassest idolatries attack exactly those things that we should rightly value the most.

    So yes, food nutrition, and the cult of the body beautiful can become ever so easily romans chapter 1. It can also be one of the highest expressions of true faith in Jesus Christ and a profound investment in reflections on the meaning of the incarnation.

    This is a worthy debate, and is unworthy of being turned into an “I am less politically correct than you are” triviality.

  • organshoes

    I’ll take the cream and sugar, please. I’ll pass on the sanctimony, however. Of any flavor.
    Living life is my day job; enjoying it as I am permitted is a fringe benefit. A part of the package.
    Thank the Lord.

  • organshoes

    I’ll take the cream and sugar, please. I’ll pass on the sanctimony, however. Of any flavor.
    Living life is my day job; enjoying it as I am permitted is a fringe benefit. A part of the package.
    Thank the Lord.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Frank (@26) and Organshoes (@27), to what are you referring with your comments (“I am less politically correct than you are” and “sanctimony”, respectively)?

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Frank (@26) and Organshoes (@27), to what are you referring with your comments (“I am less politically correct than you are” and “sanctimony”, respectively)?

  • fw

    #26. todd.

    I was not referring to any comment here.

    Often though I hear confessional Lutherans seeming to scoff at the idea that maintaining one´s body and eating well is something that is moral virtue to be sought after.

    This usually seems to take the form of scoffing at those who pay attention to diet , nutrition and going to the gym and exercise as being politically correct or somehow off base.

    truth is like a road with two deep ditches on either side. the opposite of an error is the opposite error.

  • fw

    #26. todd.

    I was not referring to any comment here.

    Often though I hear confessional Lutherans seeming to scoff at the idea that maintaining one´s body and eating well is something that is moral virtue to be sought after.

    This usually seems to take the form of scoffing at those who pay attention to diet , nutrition and going to the gym and exercise as being politically correct or somehow off base.

    truth is like a road with two deep ditches on either side. the opposite of an error is the opposite error.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    tODD, I’m trying to figure out the argument here. Traditions, of course, are living things. Yes, different cultures interact and then influence each other, as is evident in music, food, customs, & ideas. “Folk culture” emerges from people with a common history and so embodies that history.

    It is certainly legitimate for Americans to Americanize ethnic cuisine. A few days ago, I had a pizza at an Italian-wannabe place–as you described it–and it was fine, but then there is authentic Chicago-style deep dish pizza two inches thick, which I must prefer. Chicago-style pizza is part of the folk culture of the urban midwest. I love all of those regional American variations–NY pizza is different, as is St. Louis pizza–and they are all part of the patchwork of American culture. Then there are the big pop culture chains that serve a homogenous style, taste-tested and marketed to all Americans, which often drive the local places out of business. Those I decry.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    tODD, I’m trying to figure out the argument here. Traditions, of course, are living things. Yes, different cultures interact and then influence each other, as is evident in music, food, customs, & ideas. “Folk culture” emerges from people with a common history and so embodies that history.

    It is certainly legitimate for Americans to Americanize ethnic cuisine. A few days ago, I had a pizza at an Italian-wannabe place–as you described it–and it was fine, but then there is authentic Chicago-style deep dish pizza two inches thick, which I must prefer. Chicago-style pizza is part of the folk culture of the urban midwest. I love all of those regional American variations–NY pizza is different, as is St. Louis pizza–and they are all part of the patchwork of American culture. Then there are the big pop culture chains that serve a homogenous style, taste-tested and marketed to all Americans, which often drive the local places out of business. Those I decry.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Veith (@30), I don’t think that all my comments were towards any one point, just responding to this and that. Rereading things, I don’t think we have any disagreements that I could find.

    Anyhow, I’m also a fan of true deep-dish pizza (with, as my friend from Joliet insists, the tomatoes — chunky, of course — on top and the cheese on bottom).

    So would you argue that the difference between pop and folk cultures is that pop culture is top-down, while folk is bottom-up? Because they both end up being (or seeming to be) the voice of the people, but in one case the people make their ways into a culture, and the other way, they merely decide to accept what someone has given them.

    It seems interesting that left-leaners as myself tend to prefer the bottom-up folk culture, decrying to some degree — as you do — the homogeneous top-down style of a Domino’s, Starbucks, or Wal-Mart.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Veith (@30), I don’t think that all my comments were towards any one point, just responding to this and that. Rereading things, I don’t think we have any disagreements that I could find.

    Anyhow, I’m also a fan of true deep-dish pizza (with, as my friend from Joliet insists, the tomatoes — chunky, of course — on top and the cheese on bottom).

    So would you argue that the difference between pop and folk cultures is that pop culture is top-down, while folk is bottom-up? Because they both end up being (or seeming to be) the voice of the people, but in one case the people make their ways into a culture, and the other way, they merely decide to accept what someone has given them.

    It seems interesting that left-leaners as myself tend to prefer the bottom-up folk culture, decrying to some degree — as you do — the homogeneous top-down style of a Domino’s, Starbucks, or Wal-Mart.

  • organshoes

    Interesting insight, tODD, that fast food and its like (chain restaurants, for instance, or packaged foods) are offered rather than sought out or co-opted from prior tastes, accepted and then mainstreamed into the culture as the standard. Thinking here of Kraft mac and cheese, or any pizza chains poor excuse for cheese.
    It’s rather like the dictation done by fashion designers: here’s your mini-skirt, gals, or pantyhose. Now wear them, deal with them, hate them, but don’t think of being able to dress any other way.
    It takes work to find what we like, or what’s really good or really pleasing to us. Like you grinding your coffee beans: you’re not going to just take Maxwell House’s word for what makes a pleasing cup of coffee.

  • organshoes

    Interesting insight, tODD, that fast food and its like (chain restaurants, for instance, or packaged foods) are offered rather than sought out or co-opted from prior tastes, accepted and then mainstreamed into the culture as the standard. Thinking here of Kraft mac and cheese, or any pizza chains poor excuse for cheese.
    It’s rather like the dictation done by fashion designers: here’s your mini-skirt, gals, or pantyhose. Now wear them, deal with them, hate them, but don’t think of being able to dress any other way.
    It takes work to find what we like, or what’s really good or really pleasing to us. Like you grinding your coffee beans: you’re not going to just take Maxwell House’s word for what makes a pleasing cup of coffee.

  • patrick winter

    fw,

    You sound like a health-Nazi. If you want to worship your body, go ahead, this is America–but don’t portray your vain body worship as Christian. You seem to have some antagonism for Confessional Lutherans.

    Should we eat healthy? Sure. Should we exercise? Sure. But last I checked, running 2 miles a day and refraining from the latest “bad” food isn’t in the Bible.
    Perhaps the scoffing you encounter is from your desire to make your food choices some 11th Commandment.

  • patrick winter

    fw,

    You sound like a health-Nazi. If you want to worship your body, go ahead, this is America–but don’t portray your vain body worship as Christian. You seem to have some antagonism for Confessional Lutherans.

    Should we eat healthy? Sure. Should we exercise? Sure. But last I checked, running 2 miles a day and refraining from the latest “bad” food isn’t in the Bible.
    Perhaps the scoffing you encounter is from your desire to make your food choices some 11th Commandment.

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