In Defense of Food: Cooking For Others

Nutritionalism, Five Changes, and the Menu

Nutritionalism controls the way we eat. So much in fact that it has caused five massive, fundamental changes in our eating habits, the way we view food, and the we make it. Nutritionalism has caused a shift from whole foods to refined substances, a process which removes all nutrients, a shift from complexity to simplicity, with creations such as chemical fertilizer (simplifies the soil) and genetic engineering (makes the plant grow larger while retaining less nutrients) in everyday use, the move from quality to quanitity: more food, less nutrients, the isolation of leaves from seeds, as seeds can be refined and have a longer shelf life, and from food culture to food science. All these, all five factors contribute to the onset and increase of the diseases and creating a surprising konundrum: the overeating malnurished. I exemplified nutritionalism in the two separate sections of my meny, despite the fact that unfortunently, I was unable to serve lunch. The first section is purely nutritionalist. All dishes contain 400 calories or less, they are all made with ingredients we think of today as healthy, and they are presented as a collection of beneficial nutrients rather then a meal. The second section is the exact opposite. Foods presented are traditional, they all contain ingredients that are pronouncable and would be recognized by your great-grandmother, and most importently, they are presented as food and a part of our culture rather then a set of nutrients. Both sides of the menu however, reflected the five major ways the modern food enviroment has changed that have led to an increase in western disease. Whole to refined: the veggie burger, plants don't feel and taste like meat on their own. Complexity to simplicity: unavodiable in everything that contains a vegetable because it is simply not profitable for a farmer to use more extensive and more expensive techniques to get less yield. From leaves to seeds: again the veggie burger, it is made of soy, one of the three seeds the government pays a subsidy to have grown. And food culture to food science as well as quality to quantity. As these were the two of the five changes that Pollan focused most on in his book I did everything I could to avoid falling in to either trap and no example of either can be found on the menu.