One Man’s Trash, Another’s Treasure
by Tammera J. Karr, PhD, BCHN, BCIH
Our family gives gifts or treasures at Easter like many do at Christmas. You are more likely to get chocolate at Christmas around our house than Easter, but there is at least one bunny who lost his head by the end of the weekend. This year the Bunny brought me a basket full of gifts from God and my family. One was getting to spend a day with Dr. James Wilson and friends, learning about thyroid health – more on this later. Another falls into the trash category for those who don’t care for old stuff.
We are now the proud owners of a 1906 edition of Gesine Lemcke’s cookbook “European and American Cuisine.” Now in my mind this is really cool! On the cover page is this simple quote, “Beauty, Health, and Happiness depend upon the kind of food we eat.”
The preface begins with; “What science can boast of having done more for the happiness of humanity and the advances of civilization of the world than the art of cooking? It is strange this, the most valuable, is so often left in the hands of the ignorant ……. for the destiny of the world depends on the food we eat”
I have reflected on this over the days, in light of sharing with clients how food scientists use brain scans, and chemistry to increase the desirability, addictiveness, shelf life, and appearance of foods. There are neuroscientists employed by food corporations that study how tastes like chili trigger opiate (think opium) receptors in the brain, others study how the brain releases neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine (you feel pleasure, ecstasy) when ice cream touches the tongue. A great video can be seen on the internet done by the Canadian Broadcasting Service (CBS) called “The Science of Addictive Foods”; Ms. Lemcke, had no idea just how far science would be interwoven with food.
There is a growing counter culture in America who think of food as “clean”. This group of largely 20-40 year olds are busy buying from farmers markets, wholefoods, truck stands and artisan bistros – they are also voting with their dollar, and the consumer momentum behind a multi-billion dollar natural food industry. With spring now gracing our landscape with the promise of autumn’s harvest, farmers markets are opening up throughout. My local farmers market opened just this weekend, and county “community supported agriculture” (CSA) farms are busy planting and planning for weekly produce deliveries to members.
Contrary to some – this counter culture is not new, it is in fact a return to traditional values of local small farms providing quality foods for their communities. It is the standard in Europe and in my experience the norm for food purchasing in Argentina, Chili, and New Zealand. The science is in the husbandry of the land, livestock, and lifestyle, not the test tube and petridish dish looking for chemical structures that mimic the taste, texture and smell of chicken, onion or butter.
Don Kruse shared with attendees at a Think Local sponsored event in 2011, how when his father started farming in the Umpqua valley and later as their farm grew, they delivered to 6 or 7 small markets on the main street of downtown Roseburg, they took car loads and later truckloads of produce to Reedsport and even Oakridge. Today they have to compete with asparagus from Peru and apples and berries from Mexico and Chili, their farming costs have escalated and there is always the thought of “will my great grandchildren be able to enjoy the life I have loved in this area”? Not to mention the idea of local fresh produce being available at a downtown market!
This last year Neighborworks Umpqua opened a new market in the old Grand hotel, providing an outlet for LOCAL businesses and foods producers; this “counter culture” activity supports local farmers and artisans, preserves local economies, provides healthier food choices and community. Where is the glitz in slow food not from a mega corporation or lab? Such an old fashioned idea –
New, modern, faster, cheaper …. The mantra of many, but for me, I like the o’l slow, real deal, the value in knowing where my food has come from, traditional and not so traditional foods, and the treasure of learning from the past. My cookbook and ideas might be old and out dated, but I can whip up one hell of a great meal over an open fire, I know how to grow and preserve foods without electricity or a microwave… And to me that is far from trash – it is a treasure.
To a Your Good Health and Real Foods from Real People.