I recently re-read one of my favorite books of all time: The BFG, by Roald Dahl. If you’ve ever read any of his books, you know what a colorful array of imaginary foods Dahl creates. Everything from fizzy lifting drinks, glumptious globgobblers, and snozzcumbers, to devils drenchers, frobscottle, pishlets and scorchdroppers. I don’t know about you but every time I watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory I envy those children walking around a life-size Candyland.
Dahl was a mastermind at inventing new foods. And reading about the imaginative frobscottle and snozzcumbers spurred a train of thought, which has led to this post: the imaginative foods of our day.
PINK SLIME has been getting a lot of media facetime lately. This slime is composed of inedible meat product trimmings, which are then mixed with ammonia, squished out of a tube and married to ground beef to make hamburger patties. Jamie Oliver did a fantastic bit about the making of Pink Slime:
Have you eaten at McDonalds, Taco Bell, or Burger King in the last 8 years? Have you purchased ground beef from the supermarket? If so, consider yourself slimed. You have been fortunate to taste the pink slime. But did you know you were eating it? Was it listed in the ingredients on your package of ground beef?
BUG GUTS are another common ingredient found in many chain-store foods. This South American bug is “harvested” for the rosy color it secretes when squished. Starbucks has recently been taking the heat for using the crushed bug carcasses as substitution for the standard petroleum red dye #40 in their popular strawberry-flavored items. As you can imagine, this has made vegans, and people who generally don’t like eating bugs, vomit around the globe. These bugs, deemed safe by the USDA were never listed on ingredient lists.
GROSS!!! I dont’ know about you but I don’t like meat slime or bug secretion. But that’s not the point. What companies choose to put in their food is their decision and their right. THE POINT IS: we as customers/consumers have a RIGHT to know what is in our food.
The USDA approves a lot of iffy things, like crushed bugs and dirty laundry meat. And somehow these foods get around having to be listed in the List of Ingredients. Specifically in the case of Pink Slime, it doesn’t have to be listed as a separate ingredient because it’s composed of beef, therefore it is a beef product. Tricky, tricky.
Sadly, when we eat out or buy meat from supermarkets we are probably eating slime. And maybe bug guts too. Because of the negative publicity, slime and guts are being phased out of many stores. But they will just be substituted with other questionable products to keep the price of food artificially low. There is really no way to avoid questionable foods like these, except by preparing our own foods, or eating at organic restaurants. I realize in today’s world it is considered extreme to eat at home for every meal of the day. But perhaps that shouldn’t seem like such a anomaly. It’s a sneaky, dirty, dog-eat-dog world in the food business. And our modern day food inventors keep getting more and more creative. So lets all try to stick to organic! Or better yet, homemade! Afterall, homemade food is scrumdidilyumptious!!!!