Thursday, April 23, 2015

History Corner: It ALL Started with a Chicken.....The Dorito Effect by Mark Schatzker

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this ebook, free of charge,from William Morrow via EdelweissEdelweiss, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it

What you ask, a chicken equaled a Dorito?

In a nutshell, YES!.

I know, blows your brain, doesn't it?

Let me explain,

In the late 1940s when the A&P Grocery chain sponsored a" Chickens of Tomorrow" contest to breed a plumper chicken. Up until that time there were 4 types of chickens sold in the grocery store-
Chicken was NOT a cheap food, and now that the war was over and red meat was not being rationed, no one was eating chicken anymore. They wanted to find a large breasted tender chicken, that didn't take as long to raise, thus was cheaper for the consumer, and a way for the chain to make more money.  The winners, a Vantress chicken was ready at 12 weeks, and a hefty 4 lbs, 1 lb than others being sold. As the years went by, the chickens got bigger and bigger (by 1973 they were at full wesight at 8.5 weeks) . But along the way, feeding them 'vitamin infused' grains and keeping them caged, did something else besides raise a bigger chicken. It took the FLAVOR out of them. You used to be able to cook chicken with just pepper and salt. Suddenly by the late 70s, you HAD to add spices. Chicken was now bland. You see, all that 'garbage' and dead bugs that chicken eat when they are free range equals one thing-flavor (called biodistribution). And without that, you need a spice cabinet to make chicken tasty.

Move sideways to 1962, when a Frito Lay executive stopped at a California Mexican roadside shack and tasted baked then fried tortilla chips. An idea was born, and Frito Lay issued Doritos in 1964, and they tasted just like those California chips. And they didn't sell (except in the Southwest, where they knew what do to with them, guacamole anyone?). So the idea was to make them taste 'like a taco'. By using the new flavor technology (aka chemicals), the Dorito we all know (and admit it, love) was born, and there was no looking back. Today Doritos make Frito Lay over $5 billion dollars a year. What a change, based on chemicals.

Tomatoes were also on the hit parade- grocers needed a way to keep them on the shelves longer, so they could get sold. No one wanted mushy rotten tomatoes. SO they developed tomatoes that were plumper sooner, had more water to offset natural ripening gases, and thus flavor (and meatiness) was removed. Which is why tomatoes today have SO much more water than those than when we were kids.

And don't forget Vanilla. There is a reason why I am a convert to expensive TRADITIONAL vanillas. Once you realize that the vanilla you find on the spice shelf at the grocery store is really vanillin- made from pinecones, with added flavors and chemicals, to make it taste like true traditional Madagascar vanilla. Yup, you're baking from scratch and adding tablespoons of chemicals. SIGH

In 1965 there were less than 700 of these chemicals that could be used in our food. Now there are more than 2,200. Why use real ingredients when chemicals are cheaper and easier to control? And THAT is the secret behind ALL processed food made today.

Thus the Dorito Effect is simply what happens when food gets blander and flavor technology gets better.

the dorito effect cover

In this book, Mark Schatzker shows us how our approach to the nation’s number one public health crisis has gotten it wrong. The epidemics of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes are not tied to the overabundance of fat or carbs or any other specific nutrient. Instead, we have been led astray by the growing divide between flavor—the tastes we crave—and the underlying nutrition, or rather, lack thereof. We have taken great leaps forward in technology, allowing us to produce in the lab the very flavors that are being lost on the farm. Thanks to this largely invisible epidemic, seemingly healthy food is becoming more like junk food: highly craveable but nutritionally empty. We have unknowingly interfered with an ancient chemical language—flavor—that evolved to guide our nutrition, not destroy it.

Mark really did his historical research and gives you an in-depth historical and scientific look at how our food supply has changed, and not for the better, The Dorito Effect is a HUGE page turner that will keep you up late at night, and then going through your pantry in the morning, and pretty much freaking out when you read the ingredient labels. Personally, we started changing our eating habits more and fast food? Ugh, if I can't see the food being made from REAL food (course that is a misnomer too, but actual vegetables versus prepackaged ones is what I mean), we're not eating it. You'll feel the same way after you read this book! We’ve been telling ourselves that our addiction to flavor is the problem, but it is actually the solution. This is why we loose weight when we go on diets and only eat raw food- by skipping the chemicals, we skip the chemicals that are added to make us EAT MORE. Thus it is common sense, we have been led like sheep, and food corporations are the boss. We are on the cusp of a new revolution in agriculture, with the surge in organic farming and return top heirloom varieties,  that will allow us to eat healthier and live longer by enjoying food (and its flavor),  the way it was meant to taste!

You'll be sharing about this book for months after reading it, so I recommend getting both hardback and ebook editions, so you can loan it out, and still have your resource. It's the one book you MUST read this year!

About the Author:

Mark Schatzker is an award-winning writer based in Toronto. He is a radio columnist for the Canadian Broadcast Corporation and a frequent contributor to the Globe and Mail, Cond√© Nast Traveler, and Bloomberg Pursuits. He is the author of The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor and Steak: One Man’s Search for the World’s Tastiest Piece of Beef.

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