Although I haven’t had time to post in the last couple of weeks, I have definitely had time to go schlepping through the internet, looking at interesting things, so I thought I would share a few of my favorites with you:
1. From Grist, “Five Packaged Foods You Never Need to Buy Again.” Jane Mountain offers some great ideas for both saving money and avoiding the additives that normally come with processed food. I’m certainly inspired to try some more soup recipes, and I’ve already tried a new hummus recipe:
1 tbsp tahini
2 tsp vegetable oil
3-4 tbsp water
1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 (15-oz) can garbanzo beans
1 (15-oz) can pumpkin puree (scant 2 cups)
1 garlic clove, smashed
In a food processor, combine all ingredients and puree until very smooth. Add a bit of extra water if the mixture is too thick to blend. Makes about 2 cups.
2. “Fast Food – Ads vs. Reality,” from the blog Alphailia. The author of this blog chose to compare the images of hamburgers and tacos from fast food advertisements (including McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Jack in the Box, and Burger King) to the real thing. This probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but the real food doesn’t quite stack up to the unearthly, perfect burgers in the ads.
This is one of my favorites. Even at its most attractive angle, and “fluffed up” slightly to bring life to the bun, the real burger looks like the ad burger’s sad, special little cousin.
3. There’s been a bunch of food news recently about the growing number of people who are dumpster diving for at least some of their food. In doing research, I found out that there is a part of this movement that has a name — freeganism. A portmanteau of the words “free” and “vegan,” the term describes someone who “prefer[s] to repair and maintain the goods that already exist, share what is surplus, refuse to buy things [they] don’t really need, and acquire the few things [they] really do need through recovery of wasted goods and networks of mutual aid” (quoted from Freegan.info). Food from a dumpster (especially the dumpsters of supermarkets and other produce vendors) allows freegans and amateur dumpster divers to circumvent what they feel is an economy of excessive materialism and waste. The sputtering economy seems to have boosted the dumpster diving or “urban harvesting” phenomenon — or at least the media coverage it receives. Grist recently posted this article on the subject, and in 2011, the documentary Dive followed a group of freegans and their lifestyle choices. I think what interests me about this movement is it makes me wonder how well we’ve retained our ability, as a species of animal, to tell whether food has gone bad or not. I would think that, what with all the preservatives and funky things that end up in our food to prevent the natural process of decay, that we would be less able to tell the difference between “mmm, perfectly ripe” and “umm I don’t feel so good.” But apparently, according to a lot of accounts that I’ve read, getting sick from dumpster food isn’t common among the initiated.