Tuesday, July 14, 2009

And now for something completely different: Corn

A little break from the blogs on little one......

So I didn't write any blogs on the last book I read. It was about a guy who was in the mob/mafia/la cosa nostra/whatever you want to call it. He got saved, left the mob, & lived. He spoke at my church a few weeks back & my brother in law bought us one of his books telling his story. Very interesting, but I didn't get to writing any blogs on it. I have now finished that book & started another.

I am now reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan

Basically we are walking corn these days.

Just about anywhere you look or any food you buy or consume is derived from corn. Corn is what feeds the steer that becomes the steak. Corn feeds the chicken & pig, the turkey & the lamb, the catfish & the tilapia. Increasingly, even the salmon--which is a carnivore by nature, but farmers are reengineering it to tolerate corn (GMO salmon--this is one reason why we eat wild caught fish & not farmed; there is also GMO tilapia out there & who knows what else!!). The eggs are made of corn. The milk, cheese, & yogurt, which once came from dairy cows that grazed on grass, now typically come from cows that spend their working lives indoors tethered to machinges, eating corn.

If you look at processed foods you will find even more intricate manifestations of corn. A chicken nugget, for example, piles corn upon corn: what chicken it contains consists of corn, of course, but so do most of a nugget's other constituents, including the modified corn starch that glues the thing together, the corn flour in the batter that coats it, & the corn oil in which it gets fried. Much less obviously the leavenings & lectithin, the mono-, di-, & triglycerides, the attractive golden coloring, & even the citric acid that keeps the nugget "fresh" can all be derived from corn.

To wash down your chicken nuggets with virtually any non-diet soft drink is to have some more corn with your corn. Since the 1980's virtually all the sodas & most of the fruit drinks have been sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. Grab a beer instead & you'd still be drinking corn.

There are some 45,000 items in the average American supermarket & more than a quarter of them now contain corn. this goes for the nonfood items as well--everything from toothpaste & cosmetics to disposable diapers, trash bags, cleaners, charcoal briquettes, matches, batteries, & much more.

It goes on to explain in detail about the reproductivity of corn & that it never would have survived this long without the help of man, it would've become extinct. "No other plant has humankind so involved in it's sex life" as the book puts it. But the reproductive life of plants is something I am not knowledgable about, although I keep meaning to learn about it, I'm sure it will help me in my garden if I do so.

That's the most interesting of what I've read so far. I don't plan to do any sort of chapter by chapter blogging on this book, but if there's more interesting stuff in the book I'll be sure to share it here.

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