OPINION

It’s all in the taste

Ed Rood

We’re definitely a society guided by earth-shattering discoveries generated by our ever-searching scientists, mega food suppliers and creative advertising executives.

How much better off we are now than we were before all the “improved” foods hit the market shelves is an ongoing debate.

Prior to all the brainwashing, people actually enjoyed eating. I remember going to the grocery store and looking at actual food. This was a time when the labels on the packages, cans and bottles told what they contained in general terms: green beans, iceberg lettuce, chili beans, etc. The butcher would cut off a couple pork chops or grind out some hamburger and you would be on your way. It was a simple, painless task.

This took place after folks in my generation had been given the basic rudimentary diet plans while growing up and listening to our mentors, such as public health officials and teachers.

They would stress to us the importance of eating a good well-balanced breakfast (complete with bacon, buttered toast with jam and a couple eggs.) They would also emphasize how three glasses of milk each day would make us a better person.

These same people would drill into our minds how we should brush our teeth after every meal and get plenty of sleep. To top things off, they would even suggest that reading things called books would be a big step in guaranteeing us a better, more healthy life.

Wow, was that ever back in the Stone Age!

How misinformed we were. You would sit at the dinner table and get what you thought you were getting. You know what I mean. When you asked someone to pass the butter … well, that’s what you got: butter.

But we’ve all grown so much wiser now. You can ask for butter and never know exactly what you might receive. It could be some blended or whipped yellow substance that contains a variety of chemicals. Whether it is good for you or not depends on who you ask. The bread might be made from just about anything. No big deal. The foodies say you shouldn’t eat bread anyway.

Instead of getting eggs you might get something referred to as an egg substitute. Good luck with that. It’s enough to give a hen an Excedrin headache.

Even bacon isn’t always bacon any more. You may think you’re getting traditional bacon but as soon as you taste it you know you’re not. The advertising campaign may claim it’s as good as bacon, but your taste buds know better.

Toothpaste is another old standby that can’t be taken for granted. Man, the sky is the limit when it comes to the additives they’ve injected into those tubes. Heck, many toothpastes don’t even come in tubes anymore.

Even Mother Nature’s most perfect food has become the target of all our scientific brains. It probably won’t be long until the surgeon general will require a warning label to be placed on your favorite milk container.

Like I mentioned before, these and many other scientific breakthroughs are being done for our own good. At least that is what we are told. Substitutes are big on the grocery shelves today. The funny part of the whole situation is the substitutes are more expensive than the products they were produced to replace.

I can remember when people only used margarine because they couldn’t afford to serve butter. Now you almost feel guilty if you do serve butter.

But no matter how much the scientists and advertising agencies try to brainwash me, I stand by one principle: If mankind has survived for all these years using the real thing, that’s good enough for me.

And besides that, IT TASTES A LOT BETTER!

Ed Rood is former publisher of the Tri-County Times. He and his wife, Sharon, live near Cambridge.