Ramblings inspired by a glass of milk:

America, the land of Liberty. New Hampshire, the state with the motto, Live Free or Die. Sometimes I wonder what our Founders would think of our current willingness, even eagerness, to give up essential freedoms for (supposed) safety. But then I realize that people are much the same in every generation, so I'm sure they had to deal with plenty of the same kind of opposition.

Am I going to complain about the current attacks on our Second Amendment? Not now, even though I—with a lifelong dislike of guns—find the attempts to disarm American citizens appalling and frightening.

Not this time. Right now I'm standing up, as I have before, for the freedom to enjoy flavorful foods.

I insist that one culprit in our "obesity crisis" is that Americans are unconsciously craving the flavor of normal, healthy food. Food such as the "farm milk" we drink when we are in Switzerland: fresh from the cow, unpasteurized, unhomogenized, just real milk. Real milk that bears only a superficial resemblance to that of the same name purchased in an American grocery store.

At home, I love milk, and drink a lot of it. But I can only drink skim; whole milk sticks in my throat. Except in the form of hot chocolate, which is best with whole milk, even in America. In Switzerland, farm-fresh whole milk is absolutely delicious without any chocolate at all. (Granted, with a piece of dark Toblerone on the side, it is even better.)

There's no comparison between "real food" and that which comes from the average grocery store. Not only is grocery store food highly processed, but it is also deliberately homogeneous, so that there's no variation in flavor—milk is milk, orange juice is orange juice, apple juice is apple juice, chicken is chicken—instead of celebrating and enjoying nature's bountiful variety.

Don't get me wrong: there's a lot of benefit that comes from our mass-produced food, including lower prices. It is, indeed, what they call a First World problem. My objection is not to the availability of such food, but that it is crowding out the small, the local, the variety, the food of tremendous flavors. Worse, the awesome food—food that was plentiful as recently as 30 years ago—is now often illegal in America.

As with many roads to hell, this one is paved with good intentions. Safety is not the only issue—profit is another, as is the fickle American public—and safe food is important. But our approach to safe food reminds me of that old Chinese proverb, Do not remove a fly from your friend's head with a hatchet.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, September 20, 2019 at 2:23 am | Edit
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My heart doctor would love you. I've heard him say the same thing about milk. But surely "Farmers' Markets" have sprung up in response to the greater problem. "Whole Foods," etc. I, as someone who has to avoid chemical preservatives in food, live this problem on a daily basis. (And I've wondered for years if "additives" contribute to autism.)As for "safety," I suspect it's more of a case of being sure food lasts longer so the producers of it can make more money. Whatever - I agree we've overdone it.

Posted by Grace Kone on Friday, September 20, 2019 at 11:47 am

I like your doctor, Grace!

I suspect the biggest problem is that our laws don't know how to distinguish between mammoth agribusinesses and small farmers. Thus the former, which are far, far more prone to introducing pathogens into products, and both need and can afford the draconian food safety rules, are privileged over the latter, where different rules are more appropriate.

Florida recognizes that if citrus juices are responsibly produced, they don't need pasteurization—and what a difference that makes for flavor and nutrition! But Florida does not do the same for milk: the only way raw milk can legally be sold here is as as pet food. I can find raw milk for people (with some effort) in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Connecticut, but nothing beats the liquid gold that comes from the farm up the street from our Swiss family—including the raw milk from their previous Swiss source.

Posted by SursumCorda on Friday, September 27, 2019 at 9:51 am

Just learned of another dairy in MA that sells raw milk. May have to give it a try on your next visit. Little bit of a drive, but not too bad.

Posted by dstb on Friday, September 27, 2019 at 1:35 pm
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