How did food fashion change?
Exploration. India had the spices, and China had the tea and those going to far-flung locations started to set up trading. Much of the food we eat today, however, actually originated in the Americas. The pilgrims may have brought the turkey to the first Thanksgiving, but it was the native-Americans who showed up with the pumpkins, corn, beans and sunflowers. While the potato may have saved the Irish from the famine, it was the native-Americans who first cultivated them.
Refrigeration. While it was invented in 1805, refrigerators didn’t really become a must-have have appliance until after World War II when the average household could afford one.
All of a sudden food could be transported from one area or country to another. Roast lamb from New Zealand became a delicacy in England. It was fashionable to serve exotic imported food to impress the guests.
Fast food. Then junk hit the scene big time. The origins of the hamburger have been put through the meat grinder with many claiming to have invented it. And it became trendy so people flocked in that direction and burger joints sprung up all over the place.
People went from eating organic food to chowing-down on what Jamie Oliver exposed as MacDonald’s pink slime that processed meat unfit for human consumption into burgers. Yum.
Then there is the hot dog. Basically it is the scrapings of the abattoir floor stuffed into a condom with enough preservatives so they last forever.
Local, organic and in-season
How local is local? Check out the farmer’s markets. But just because oranges don’t grow in Fargo does it that mean people there should quit eating them? Supermarkets do have their uses.
Organic is gaining momentum in certain circles. In 2002 the United State Department of Agriculture got involved. Translated that means bureaucracy, paper work and permits to insure there are no pesticides or antibiotics in the produce. The up-side is that it saves chicken-eating men from developing male boobs.
In-season implies that the fruits and vegetables are fresh. Then, again, they may have been sitting in the supermarket for two weeks and being sprayed with H2O three times a day.
Fortunately, in a democratic society people can make a decision about what they want to eat. Local, organic or pink slime — over to the consumer.
The last question
What will be the next food fashion? All ready popular in South East Asia, one trend suggestion that is local, organic and in-season is bugs – grasshoppers, caterpillars, beetles, wasps – as they are pure protein. And may well be the next delicacy.