I want Just F***ing Food

Written by Chris Kanthan. Posted in Business, Healthcare

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Published on April 06, 2013 with 101 Comments

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By Chris Kanthan

April 6, 2013

I was at a moderately priced Sushi restaurant a few weeks ago. While I was going through the menu, I saw that they had crab. When the waitress came by, I asked her if it was real crab.

She smiled coyly, and informed me, “It is imitation crab.”

“How come it doesn’t say ‘imitation’ on the menu?” I was puzzled.

“If it was real, we would say ‘Not imitation.’”

“Logical enough. So this is fake crab. Can I pay with fake money?”

She turned cold. “Counterfeit money is illegal, sir.”

I got it. Two lessons learned: One, fake food is legal, but fake money is not. Second, fake food is the default — if it’s real, they will tell us.

The next day, as if by Laws of Attraction, I read an article that said 84 percent of white tuna in sushi restaurants is actually escolar, the snake mackerel fish that causes – sorry for being graphic – oily anal leakage, and was banned by the FDA until 1992. It is still banned in Japan, Italy, and requires warning labels regarding the leaky discharge in Canada, Sweden and Denmark.

And it’s not just fish. Fakeness has become epidemic.

More than 75 percent of honey in the supermarket is not even honey. Just corn syrup, mixed with some chemicals that smell and taste like honey.

I started buying organic honey a while ago, and I could tell it tasted wonderful and different. But guess what? Soon I learned that the term “organic” can be applied to something that is only 75 percent organic. So what I should be looking for is “100% Organic.” Preferably, “USDA certified”. And just when I thought I had found the perfect honey, my friend brought me back to reality saying, “What you also need to look for is the phrase “raw and unfiltered”. And “pure” might be another good word as well.”

If you just get olive oil, you are in for a big surprise. What you need is Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Olive Oil. (I wonder if the Bible describes Mary as “Extra Virgin”?)

So there are all kinds of adjectives we need to memorize and remember, if we want to get good, real food.

Salmon? Did you make sure it is ‘Wild’, or at least ‘Responsibly Farm Raised with no Antibiotics, or Hormones’? If you get chicken or beef, make sure it is organic. ‘Natural’ doesn’t mean anything these days. And verify the ratings of how the animals were raised. Sometimes it is good to have lower numbers, and sometimes you need to look for higher numbers.

Eggs? Regular eggs are from tormented, sick chickens. And I used to think ‘cage free’ was awesome. Nope. It doesn’t really mean much, in spite of the heart-warming pictures of happy chickens they have on the cartons. So, organic eggs are much better. But, really, you have to get ‘100% USDA certified organic pastured eggs.’

If you are at a fancy restaurant, they will have beef from ‘grass-fed cows.’ Wow, what a concept. Cows have been eating grass since the days of dinosaurs, but now it’s a high-priced novelty! (To be fair, I didn’t do any research on the evolutionary origin of cows).

You like chocolate? Get organic. And also, look for the “Fair Trade” logo. Otherwise, it could be from Africa where big corporations like Nestle make nine year old girls work in cocoa fields for fourteen hours a day.

Of course, always look for anything that says there is no genetically modified stuff. ‘No GMO’, ‘Non-GMO’ etcetera are good things to see on labels.

This is crazy! Everything is upside down. Real things should not need adjectives. Altered and fake things should need adjectives.

We should not need an Excel sheet to remember every damn set of adjectives for every single thing we eat or buy.

It’s time to shift the burden to the industry that profits from fake food. Let them have an asterisk next to everything that is not real, and in a box below, let them explain how the real thing has been altered. Let them say ‘filtered, heated, processed, 90% GMO corn syrup honey.’ Chocolate should be marked ‘involves pesticide, child labor, and unfair trade.’ And, of course, imitation crab will no longer be called crab.

Everything real should just be known by its real name. Absence of adjectives should be a good thing.

On the other hand, if the marketing gurus at the food industry really need to have an adjective, here is one: JFF—Just F***ing Food TM. And call me first, please. I have it trademarked.

Chris Kanthan

Chris Kanthan

Chris Kanthan has degrees in Physics and Engineering with a minor in Economics. And, just for fun, a diploma in Paralegal. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, has traveled to more than 30 countries, and deeply cares about politics, finance and food. He has also written an e-book titled "Deconstructing Monsanto" that is available on iTunes, Amazon.com and Smashwords.com. He can be reached at chrisk2000@yahoo.com.

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101 Comments

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  1. Excellent job Chris! Sadly very true. Keep doing what you’re doing!

    • Thank you, Kerry

  2. Its possibly unfortunate that any language is fluid, it changes with each generation that takes up its usage, each generation seeks out new superlatives to describe things in an original way … and so with each generational change the ‘marketing dept’s’ need these new superlatives and adjectives to describe and attract a newer market… this is a great article, not just great or well written but also slightly groundbreaking as its the first time I’ve seen an article try and tackle not only the food production industry but also the language misuse… Shifting the burdon to the food industry is a nice sentiment… but so long as the laws are fairly lax on labeling and descriptive use of the language… its a fairly tame sentiment… maybe shifting the burdon on education so the reader better understands what hes reading from a younger age would be a more useful tool in our arsenal ?

    • Thank you. You’re right about the desire to come up with new stuff. Corporations have to make up stuff to increase their sales, and hence the “new and improved” all the time. At some point, it becomes fake inventions–inventions not for the sake of improvement or progress.

  3. LOVE YOU!!! my sentiments exactly…. so now we plant a garden:) Just like great-gramndma did.

    • Thank you so much, Valerie! And yes, gardening is an awesome solution to this problem.

  4. Can I get a real book, “Deconstructing Monsanto”?
    JFF- Love it!

    • Hi Carrie, thank you! I wanted to keep the book short enough for a quick read, and hence the e-book. Also, the use of hyperlinks of references is possible with an e-book. You can get the free Kindle software for your PC/Mac/iPhone etc and can read the book. Hope that helps

      • Very helpful, thank you!

  5. I couldn’t agree more

    • Thank you, John

  6. Great job Chris! Keep up the fight!

    • Thank you, Robin. If enough of us take actions, we will change the system

  7. Fabulous! Well put!

    • Thank you

  8. Report by the Center for Science in Public Intrest

    An analysis of more than 33,000 cases of foodborne illness shows that
    ground beef and chicken have caused more hospitalizations than
    other meats.

  9. So sad, so true! Can you mention how much $$$$ we all have to fork out for real food while you’re at it? Try feeding a family of 5 – you end up in the poor house just on groceries!

    • Yes. On a cost per calorie basic, real food is 3 or 4 times more expensive than fake food thanks to our government’s crazy love for genetically modified soy and corn

    • Redo your math and factor in the health effects and environmental impact of cheap fake food and you’ll discover organic food is a bargain.

  10. Wholegrains, legumes and veggies are much harder to fake. If it looks like a cucumber it probably is =)

    • Yes, although they are genetically modifying many grains, plants, and vegetables as well. (GM potato, tomato, and wheat never really took off, but they are at it)

  11. @ Mark Thttp://www.rodale.com/chicken-and-factory-farms
    Citation

  12. Actually fake money is legal and ubiquitous. Banks manufacture money out of thin air every day. Said money isn’t based on anything they own except by a minuscule percentage (fractional reserve monetary system) of money either on deposit or on loan. Banks create money based on a highly leverage accounting of debts you owe banks. They offer loans even though they don’t actually own the money they are loaning out. The majority of money is fake. The majority of food is fake. We live in a fuckin fake world. Nice article BTW!

    • Thank you, and yes, fake money is a whole new article!