Since I’ve been having a hard time writing things in my genre of topics I usually try to post on here I thought I’d let myself go off in a different direction.
While I’m not a hard-core foodie, I do like to eat good food. I’ve got a few favorite shows on Food Network and a number of things are starting to really bother me more and more.
When did we allow our food preparation to be outsourced to a growing industry of bland, mechanized, "individually sealed for your safety", corporations that get to dictate taste to us?
Why do we feel the need to make it taste the same in Los Angeles as it does in New York?
I’m not faulting any of the companies that cater to our desire and perceived need for quick, easy, meals. They’re just businesses trying to make money and grow market share. Yes, the national chains can offer good coffee, breads, ice cream, noodles, cheesecake, pizza, etc… but what about our cultural heritage that brings so many different regional ideas, experience, tastes, and ingredients to the table.
Alas, the modern interstate has rendered our palates comfortably numb with it’s rolling miles of paved pablum.
One last thing: portion size. WTF!? The food from all fast food, chain restaurants, and so on is soooo mediocre that one wonders why we need to super-size any of it. Even when going to a "sit down" restaurant, the servings are too big. And experts wonder why we have a obesity problem in our country!
I’m ranting here, and for good reason. Most cities have lost what culturally significant foods and dishes that were developed because of their geographic location and the unique combination of nationalities that had settled there. It’s sad to loose these dishes and flavors that have melted into the bland fabric that is American food today.
Don’t know the answer to any of this except to suggest you seek out the local mom & pop restaurants and frequent the ones that have keep to their regional specialties. Encourage them to continue doing what they do best and look for more that keep our regional specialties unique and special.
In addition, don’t forget that the cultural makeup of our country is changing. With larger numbers of various ethnic groups, the idea of food, flavor and ingredients are and will change. This is OK, because this brings fresh ideas and new techniques to our kitchens and our palates. And that is a great thing too.