Friday, August 24, 2007


So I never really thought of corn more than what it was: on the cob in the summer, growing up eating it creamed from the can, occasionally sprinkled in chili, etc. Corn itself is not bad, especially in moderation (as most anything in excess can be a problem). However, The Omnivore's Dilemma has taught me much about corn's development in the past 75 years.

I kind of feel like I did in college in learning about the prison industrial complex (where big business enters the prison to utilize cheap labor, which isn't all that bad except when the people who once held those jobs are displaced, similar to corporations taking their businesses to other countries to take advantage of cheap labor). I am certainly looking forward to our book club's discussion on this topic, it usually broadens the scope of what we read, opening up or challenging the ideas that the author may have left out.

Back to corn. It used to be a regular crop on the farm, having its place among the other vegetables and grains and livestock. However, as technology advanced (i.e. tractors) certain aspects of the farm were eliminated (i.e. livestock used to farm the land and their feed), thus opening up room for more of a crop that is easy to grow and make money from. With the increase in corn production and change in government agriculture policies, the price of corn declined. Instead of producing less, farmers produced more corn to make up for the lost revenue. During this time production also increased due to the new application of chemicals

(aka fertilizer) to the farmland. Chemistry also allowed the corn kernel itself to be made into the better, more durable, more resistant crop. Now, corn in the grocery store is fine, but I never realized all the other places that it goes: to the cattle industry (corn is cheaper and fattens the cattle much faster than their previous grass/grain diet) and to the food processor (or whatever they call it) to be turned into the most chemically advanced things that are in almost everything that we use (from fuel to breakfast cereal to laundry detergent).

I know that there are probably lots of things that have been chemically altered and aided that we consume, but at present corn and its derivatives are what I'm learning about. Since there really is a lot of processed food in our refrigerator (from the whole wheat bread to the ketchup), I'd really just like to be more aware of it. It kind of feels like when you first learn about the sovereignty of God or even endtimes theology, you realize how much more there is to learn about things you either didn't think about or didn't know there was MORE to even think about.

Anyway, I guess I'm not saying that corn is bad, but I never knew how much it has impacted the culture that we live in. Really, take a look at this book. I'm only a third of the way through now and am very curious to see what else he'll be talking about.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Chicken vs. Chicken Nugget

Last night we went to Carpo's for dinner since they will be closing down the westside location in a couple of weeks. Ezra said he wanted chicken nuggets and I tried to explain to him that they didn't have chicken nuggets, but they had chicken tenders. I've tried to cut back on allowing him to eat chicken nuggets since often he doesn't want to eat REAL chicken. If he eats the real chicken when we're eating dinner, sometimes I'll let him get the nuggets when we're eating fast food, but that usually just gets him into the "I'll only eat chicken nuggets" mode.

Well, after one bite of the chicken tender at Carpo's he realized it wasn't chicken nuggets and put up somewhat of a fuss. However after showing him how great they were with the ketchup he reluctantly ate a few. Nevermind the fact that we told him if he ate the very last one, we'd go down to the Boardwalk to ride a ride. He did, well actually, the last bite fell on the floor and he tried to eat it, but we got it away from him and told him we'd still go down to ride the ride.

After driving around for about 15 minutes, we finally found a parking spot down at the Boardwalk and Ezra was able to ride his beloved airplane ride. Then, he, Justus and Matt were able to ride the Pepsi truck ride (Justus' first ride at the Boardwalk).

Amusingly enough, the section I was reading in The Omnivore's Dilemma last night was about the chicken nugget. Here is an excerpt about the author eating a meal at McDonalds with his son:

"When I asked Isaac if the new nuggets tasted more like chicken than the old ones, he seemed baffled by the question. 'No, they taste like what they are, which is nuggets,' and then dropped on his dad a withering two-syllable 'duh.' In this consumer's mind at least, the link between a nugget and the chicken in it was never more than notional, and probably irrelevant. By now the nugget constitutes its own genre of food for American children, many of whom eat nuggets every day. For Issac, the nugget is a distinct taste of childhood, quite apart from chicken, and no doubt a future vehicle of nostalgia- a madeline in the making."

Did you know that there are 38 ingredients that make up a McNugget?? Even after they've made the switch to all white meat in their nuggets. It is a bit scary learning of all those ingredients (13 of which are derived from corn, which goes back to my last post. I never knew that CORN is in pretty much everything we eat!). So, it is all very fascinating.

I'm seriously considering the things we eat and Matt is a little scared that I'm going to go all hippy on the family. Don't worry if I do, it will be gradual. Wouldn't want the boys to go on a food strike or anything like that!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

New Book

Our book club is in the middle (actually, I'm just at the beginning) of this book,
The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan. The first 40 pages have been very interesting, only about 380 pages to go, yikes! It already has impacted my life, as I've decided to change from using non-dairy creamer (Coffeemate's Vanilla Caramel) to regular 1/2 and 1/2. We'll see what other changes I make (and how long I stick to them) as I get further along in the book. So far, I still eat at McDonald's. Love those french fries!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Felt Food

If you search for "felt food" on Etsy, you'll come up with a great assortment of just that. Here is one of my favorites. I think I'm going to start with the frosted cookies (see post down below), better to start with dessert, right? People can be very creative, thankfully there are these websites to get inspired! I need all the help I can get! I'll post the finished products when I'm done!