Back to the future

During months with five Tuesdays I follow up on some previous themes in lieu of a normal post.

Extending shelf life of unprocessed foods

I ran across this statement earlier this month

Amazon is developing new technologies to make ready-to-eat meals that are more nutritious than processed foods and have a longer shelf life.

Anyone else catch the irony of this statement? The video actually clarifies the statement, but I find it still problematic. Amazon is going to produce “meals that are more nutritious than processed foods” using Microwave Assisted Thermal Sterilization.

A new kind of footprint

I learned a new phrase this month—chemical footprint. We can thank Wal-mart for watching out for us. I am not too concerned about eliminating formaldehyde and phthalates in products, but what is next? Are we really trying to produce safer products or are we headed down the proverbial slippery slope? Will such ingredients as aspartame, MSG, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, BHA and BHT be added to the hit list based on questionable science? What about equally or more dangerous “natural” chemicals such as caffeine and ethanol?

caffeine                             ethanol

Soda taxes

I keep following the soda tax issue. In addition to Philadelphia, Chicago is now implementing a soda tax and Seattle has voted on one to start next year. Chicago includes diet sodas; Seattle focuses on sugar-sweetened beverages. At this point proponents of the taxes do not appear to paying any political price for favoring the tax. So much for the economic clout of Big Soda. In Philadelphia, sales of sodas have decreased dramatically while sales outside the city have surged, indicating that inner city residents who have transportation have traveled outside city limits to get their sweet beverages. Tax revenues have not met expectations. It is not clear if soda consumption is down inside the city or that health of Philadelphians will improve. Stay tuned.


Humble cuisine

In July presented Rachel Lauden’s take on humble cuisine.1 Thus, I was not surprised when I read in a completely unrelated book2 that

Indeed, in the France of the 1780s four fifths of all French families spent 90 percent of their incomes simply buying bread—only bread—to stay alive.


Replacing trans fats

In the blog post earlier this month, I talked about the replacement of partially hydrogenated oil with saturated fats. Since then CNN has released an article on the health effects of coconut oil which is a saturated fat that is replacing partially hydrogenated oils in food products.

trans fatty acid

Back-to-school lunches

Parents get tips on how to reduce processed foods in school lunches they pack. Most of the replacements such as nuts, tuna packets and peanut butter, however, are packaged, processed foods as well.

Veggie boxes

Finally, it is time for me to sign up for 20 weeks of fresh, organic veggies. As I learned last year, one box a week was just too much for my wife and me. I found someone to share my box and was seriously considering signing up again, but I was disabused of the idea, however, when reminded of all the dirt and disruption it brought to our refrigerator. Instead I have decided to try one or more of the meal-kit services. I will provide a post on my experiences, probably early next year.

Veggies Three


1 Laudan, R., 2015. Cuisine & Empire: Cooking In World History, University of California Press.

2 Novak, M., 1982. Can a Christian Work for a Corporation? The Theology of the Corporation. In The Judeo-Christian Vision and the Modern Corporation (O. Williams and J. Houck, eds.) pp 170-202.

Coming soon: Chemcials in our foods: artificial colors, BHA & BHT

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