Last Week, Cooking; This Week, Leftovers and Parties

I haven’t been in the kitchen very much this week; Scott and I have both had evening commitments, so have been foraging or eating elsewhere. I’ve been able to enjoy good leftovers from last week (ah, how virtuous one feels when one remembers to put things in the freezer). Last night my company had a big party for the grand opening of our permanent NY offices, and the food was actually really good–much better than one often gets at such gigs.

I expect to do some cooking over the weekend, though, if only to keep the apartment warm.

I have noticed two interesting and I think related developments in the media, though. One is a new ad campaign from the Corn Refiners Association trying to convince people that high-fructose corn syrup isn’t as bad as people think. The ads I’ve seen feature two people, one of whom is about to eat something with HFCS; the other person disapproves and says, “You know what they say about it!” in a tone that suggests what they say is that HFCS has been making out with the quarterback behind the gym. “What?” asks the first person. “That it’s made from corn? Has the same number of calories as sugar? And is perfectly fine in moderation?” Well, no. That it’s highly processed, may metabolize differently in the body than sugar, and is found in a huge number of processed foods, including a lot that you wouldn’t think require sweetening.  I am not qualified to analyze the accuracy of the claims that HFCS acts differently in the body than sugar, but I do think it’s way too easy to eat too much of it–or of most sweeteners. Also, the tagline “that it’s made of corn?” inevitably makes me think of a line from the Apple Sisters‘ “Corndy“: “I think because it’s corn.” Which makes it hard for me to take the ad campaign very seriously.

The other campaign is for Lay’s potato chips, and is touting the natural simplicity of the product: just potatoes, oil and salt. And industrial monoculture farms, high-tech processing facilities and an incredible amount of packaging. Even 10 years ago I don’t think either of these corporate interests would have felt so defensive about their well-marketed, highly profitable products. But through the efforts of people like Michael Pollan, Marion Nestle and Barbara Kingsolver, among many others, there’s a growing awareness that maybe the best things in life don’t come in 99-cent snack sized packages that you can buy at gas stations.

One Response to “Last Week, Cooking; This Week, Leftovers and Parties”

  1. Sally says:

    I had an interesting conversation with my doctor yesterday. She said that some people have been studying cholesterol and other fitness indicators on the American population since 1) gas prices went up so high and 2) the economy tanked. The results of these two financial situations are that 1) people are driving less and walking and bicycling more and 2) they’re not eating as much fast food. The results are shocking. Because we’re being forced to eat more carefully prepared food and to get a bit of exercise, obesity and cholesterol levels are dropping. Who would have thought?

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