Tuesday, 18 November 2014

hair of the dog or copra cabaña

Do you remember the panic and hysteria over monosodium glutamate (MSG) in Chinese foods or the revelation that a bag of movie-theatre popcorn had the fat content of eighteen fast-food burgers?  A related shock-campaign transformed the world’s culinary landscape in the early to mid-1980s when the old staples of the industry, tallow—lard and tropical oils, coconut and palm, were demonised as the fount of all ills and understudies quickly championed good health and general dietary decency.

The forces behind this paradigm was not, however, a temperance union seeking to unseat processed foods nor agents really interested in public health, but rather flagship agriculture lobbies. Soy, maize and rapeseed crops had of course been cultivated for millennia but not for their oils, as the unsaturated fats were too unstable at high temperatures and quickly went rancid. Once the process of hydrogenation was perfected, bombarding these bumper-crops of the West in order to mimic superficially some of the qualities of the now derided saturated fats, these new, refined oils infiltrated everything we eat. In order to initiate and sustain this rather significant change, a selective explanation and quasi-myth of saturated fats—with an overwhelming array of nuances with un-, mono- and polysaturated, triglycerides and trans-fatty acids, was carefully crafted. With the taste for colonialism turning sour, a whole business started over spices, around this time, conditions were ideal for the promotion of a yet unexploited by-product of farming. The public is mostly appeased by this simplistic coup and throughout alternatives have been available for the sake of those malingerers—considering, however, that nearly all foodstuffs are swimming in corn-syrup and other beefed-up oils, it is a little like the token egg that cake-mixes call for, unnecessarily but it makes people feel more like they are baking. What do you think? Some argue that the normalisation process on these new oil sources create industrial solvents that are not digested in healthful ways.