American Elephants


The New World of Bacon! by The Elephant's Child

bacon

I assumed that I was done with the food posts, but the current mania for all things bacon interfered. I made the mistake of searching for an image of bacon on Google images. Ooops! We have bacon dresses, bacon bras, a bacon man’s suit, a bacon basket for scrambled eggs, bacon candy, bacon ice cream, bacon gumballs, a child’s bacon costume, bacon cupcakes, chocolate covered bacon, a bacon attaché case, bacon soda, bacon toothpaste, Kevin Bacon, bacon deodorant, and a few other things that would spoil your taste for bacon for some time.

Another search produced a cooking site: endless simmer which features” 100 ways to use a strip of bacon” (with pictures) and recipes to go with each picture, some of which look really good.  The Food Network does “50 Things to Make with Bacon” again with recipes.and delish.com has “Bizarre Bacon: 12 Weird Bacon Products You Won’t Believe.

At that point I’d had enough. I knew that there was a major food fad going on with bacon, but I had no idea how extensive it was.There are websites just about bacon. There are uses too embarrassing to mention. We never quit bacon during all the talk about saturated fat, but it was more Sunday morning with sourdough pancakes. Long ago I used to stuff a hot dog with a long skinny piece of cheddar cheese and then wrap the whole thing in a slice of bacon, but that was a really long time ago. It was really good too.

ADDENDUM: I should mention that the price of bacon is climbing sharply from bacon enthusiasm and a virus that affects baby pigs with a fatal diarrhea. As they say in the investment business, buy on dips.



Food Fads and Misinformation by The Elephant's Child

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In my trip to Safeway yesterday, I grabbed a small container of key lime flavored Greek yogurt. The brand was “Open Nature,” one of Safeway’s proprietary brands, I assume to reach those who are attracted by the word “natural.” I am not. It was just handy, and key lime sounded good. The line after the brand logo was “Real Food From Natural Ingredients” — well, yes, that’s what I expect from food. Nobody’s going to be attracted by a label that says “Phony Food From Unnatural Ingredients”—though I’d bet that most people wouldn’t notice anyway.

Michelle Obama, in pursuit of thinner kids, is betting millions on getting people to read food labels with larger print. Safeway has probably done more market research than Ms. Obama. regarding the extent to which people read food labels. The Open Nature carton continues to note that the 2% nonfat milk is Grade A. The product contains ‘No Artificial Flavors or Colors, No Artificial Ingredients, and Milk From Cows Not Treated with rBST*. The asterisk points to the footnote—no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBST-treated and non-rBST-treated cows.

This was a big flap several years ago. Farmers were treating their cows with the forenamed hormone, which helped them to produce more milk. Dairy scientists explained that it was physically and scientifically impossible for the hormone to pass through a cow’s body to enter the milk in any way. Not good enough. Mild panic ensued. Dairy farmers quit using the hormone, cows went back to producing the normal amount of milk and certified that their milk came from cows that were not treated with rBST.

The media, always ready to reproduce anything with the word “study” gives them the chance, I guess to be first with something. Perhaps that is the excuse for failing to vet the “study” or even to be suspicious recognizing that the word “study” does not prove anything. It might all be a mess of pottage.

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The World Needs Genetically Modified Food! by The Elephant's Child

May 30, 2013, 7:07 pm | Edit this

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This is re-posted from about this time last year. I don’t know if they are holding protest meetings against Monsanto, but otherwise the beat goes on. They are still trying to force grocery stores to identify any GMO containing foods with labels, by law.

For most people last weekend was the observance of Memorial Day, a time to remember the fallen. For the easily aroused, it was a time to march in a global protest against Monsanto and genetically modified seeds. Well, the global warming thingy is in freefall as a protest message, since most people are noticing that it is significantly cooling (where is summer anyway?), with late snow to emphasize the fact. Are the protesters always just the same people? The pictures look like it. Is there a certain type who just loves to march and wave signs?

Organizers said  “March Against Monsanto” demonstrations were being held in some 300 cities in more than 44 countries that weekend.  It was described as a social media-generated call to action against genetically modified foods and the multinational corporations that produce them. Goodness, you alter a gene to include vitamin A in rice, creating “golden rice,”which will save millions from blindness, and the perennially suspicious go bonkers.

Genetically modified seeds help farmers to grow more on less land, and to conserve resources such as water and energy. Some supporters just want any foods grown from GMO seeds to be so labeled, others want to prohibit the process. Proposition 37, a ballot measure that would have made California the first state to require labels on fresh produce and processed foods whose DNA had been modified by scientists, was defeated at the polls.

Unsurprisingly, much of the misinformation on GMO crops comes from promoters of Organic Food. “Organic” is merely a marketing campaign. Multiple studies have shown no benefits of any kind from organic food, other than the higher prices it brings to marketers, and Whole Foods.

Demographers expect world population to keep growing until about 2050, and then start declining. The industrialized nations , for the most part, have declining birth rates, and as prosperity increases, that seems to be the natural tendency. Until 2050, we need to produce more food to feed the world. If the world continues to cool, we might desperately need GMO foods that are more adapted to cold. Varieties of  grains adapted to particular soils or climates can dramatically increase production. Reducing the cost of weed control, or reducing susceptibility to a virus, can be a very big deal. Reducing pesticide use makes food healthier. Adding beta carotene to golden rice could prevent millions of cases of blindness. Do people not recognize that countries like Egypt cannot feed their own population?

Growers and marketers are sensitive to the protests of activist groups. They have seen foolish scares do tremendous damage to their businesses. Remember the cranberry scare, Alar, and activists attempting to destroy crops?  Always new food fads or fears that seem to grow in some mysterious underground.  Is it just word of mouth? I don’t know. They are still protesting fluoride in our water, but brushing their teeth with it.




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