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Omnivore’s Dilemma Chapter 7

November 18, 2008

Golden Fries, originally uploaded by Sutanto.


Omnivore’s Dilemma as previously mentioned is broken into three sections, each one based on one of the three principal food chains that exist today. Chapter 7 is the last chapter in the industrial food chain section and as such covers Michael’s industrial meal. While there are endless ways he could have eaten corn in all it’s mutated glory he chose McDonald’s. It’s probably fitting to choose a high visibility food chain as the essence of the industrial diet.

In addition to figuring out all the corn involved in a typical families fast food meal Michael hypothesizes that places like McDonald’s have become a sort of comfort food. As I read it I disagreed but as I finished an 8 hour drive including a half an hour customer visit tired and ready to crash I realized what he said was true. To me McDonald’s doesn’t remind me of my childhood (which is why he likens it to comfort food) since I rarely got it. Instead fast food is comfort food to me because of it’s simplicity. It’s oh so simple to find a fast food chain regardless of what town you find yourself in. There is no worry about finding a place to eat, picking something off a menu and hoping you will like it, and eating alone in a strange place. It’s easy to follow the glowing sign, pick something that tastes the same regardless of where you are, and then take it back to your hotel and finally relax. The food isn’t gourmet, honestly it doesn’t even taste that great but it’s a constant. You know exactly what you are getting, except do you?

Did you know that there are 38 ingredients in a McNugget, thirteen of which are derived from corn? Or that there is corn sweetner in your burger, as if all the corn used to fatten the cow wasn’t enough. That forty-five of the sixty menu items at McDonald’s contain high fructose corn syrup?

It’s crazy when you think about it…. and I have to admit after an eight hour drive or at the end of long week of traveling I have to force myself to think about it so I don’t end up eating all my meals in fast food chains simply because they are familiar and easy.

Chapter 1-3 The Plant: Corn’s Conquest, The Farm, & The Elevator
Chapter 4 The Feedlot: Making Meat
Chapter 5-6 The Processing Plant: Making Complex Foods & The Consumer: A Republic of Fat

Chapter 8 All Flesh is Grass

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 18, 2008 8:03 am

    I don’t feel that way at all, fast food disgusts me. But probably part of the reason is because I grew up in another country that didn’t have it (actually it’s just starting to get it). Mr Chiot’s however used to think of fast food as comfort food, he grew up eating it all the time. Thankfully he no longer does.

    My idea of comfort food is beans & rice and some arepas (corn cakes of sorts with some cheese). Mr Chiot’s and I occationally will eat Chipotle, that’s as fast food as we get. I can’t remember the last time we have “fast food” in the traditional sense (burgers, fries & soda). We usually carry enough food with us to make something healthy, even if it is just apples & nuts or a PB&J sandwich.

  2. waku2waku permalink
    November 18, 2008 12:28 pm

    Corn. Corn. Corn. Watched the King Corn documentary this past weekend which has led me to a lot more internet surfing about high fructose corn syrup (HCFS) and which led me here. Haven’t read yet the Omnivore’s Dilemma, but keep seeing it referenced. Got to add it to the “to read” list.

    I’m not sure if anyone has seen the corn refiner’s association ads on TV yet about how HCFS is the same as sugar. I was on a diabetic’s forum the other day, and this guy with diabetes did an experiment on himself. He had some HFCS. Then he measured his blood sugar. He had some cane sugar. Then he measured his blood sugar again. His blood sugar with HCFS was twice the level as when he had cane sugar. His comment is just above here {I couldn’t figure out a direct link – sorry}

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