Thursday, August 13, 2009

Coming Home To Eat

By author Gary Paul Nabhan.

"No wonder that some of those who survived the depression and the Dust Bowl later indulged themselves in conspicuous consumption, in being proud of the fact that they had the leeway to "eat out" now and then. It is as cut and dried as an obituary column in a small town newspaper. For the three decades following the depression, Americans used their hard-won prosperity to purchase more and more of their food in ready-to-eat fashion....

"But the generation of kids raised by survivors of those dark and dusty times accepted that luxury as the norm. From the seventies through the nineties, as the average American's disposable income increased by 40 percent, so did their consumption of processed food. Even though they had the economic slack to immerse themselves in the pleasures of gardening and fishing, baking in wood-fired ovens and fermenting their own home brews, Americans spent less time preparing meals, and more time buying precooked packaged foods." p. 258

"...folks of Italian descent gain health benefits from integrating elements of ancient Mediterranean cuisine into their contemporary diet...cholesterol and blood-pressure levels plummet when Mexican Americans...return to the nopalitos and baked mescal of their Nahuatl ancestors...native Hawaiians lose weight and control of their diabetes when poi and tropical fruits regain prominence on their dinner tables. of course, some are hurt by the absence of traditional foods more than others are; although my mother's family suffered through famine and feast cycles much like those that O'odham neighbors did before government food assistance arrived, only one of my cousins suffers from diabetes, while nearly all my Indian neighbors do." p. 260

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