Thursday, March 8, 2007

Tasteless organic food

Opposite to my house is a so-called "Whole Foods". It is a scary place. Superficially it looks like a Wegmans, but in reality it is a different beast. Amazingly enough, people come from tens of miles away in their big SUVs and minivans to shop there. I've even heard jealous comments of people that realised I lived so close. However, I do not share their enthousiasm. Let me start with establishing a basic background on the concept of organic food.

There is a misconception that organic food is better for the environment. This is not the case. Most organic food is grown in third world countries, and because of its restrictions takes three times as much space as regularly grown food. This space is usually made by cutting down rainforest. Also, because insecticides and plant food are still needed, organic food uses "natural" alternatives, that are equally, if not more, deadly than their "chemical" counterparts. Note that in my book, everything that exists is natural, and everything is chemical, but it seems some people make a distinction between the two. Just to please people, and you can quote me on this "Tigers are natural". There are a few positive things about organic food as well: more use of animal manure, and more appropriate treatment of animals. Of course, if you eat vegetarian then there will be no animal manure, nor need for animals to be kept at all.

There are (or soon will be) 10 billion people on this planet. All these people need food. If all this food was produced organically, only a small portion of these people could be fed. With the current advances in crop diseases and animal diseases we'll soon require genetic engineered food in order to stay alive. Possibly we should have less people on this planet. This would solve the food problem. And global warming. And wars. And... Let me just say that eating organic is not going to reduce the population of the world anytime soon. Unless you're counting on those crop diseases and animal diseases to wipe out the food supply, causing massive starvation... In any way you view it, eating organic food (maybe not when you grow it yourself, though you still have to wonder: could the land I grow it on not be used more efficiently in another way?) is an elitist behaviour.

This leads me to the title of this entry: tastelessness. I'll address the idea that organic food is good for you only sideways, but the tastelessness is really obvious. Let me list the products that I can guarantee taste less than those you buy in a regular supermarket:
  • Peanut butter. Apart from the fact that the oil separation looks disgusting, ruins knives, and quickly reduces the remaining peanut butter to a inedible hard mass, the stuff tastes like... Nothing. This means I have to use three times as much, which doesn't really strike me as healthy.
  • Mushroom soup. It is brownish mass resembling something that I find in the restroom on bad days. I can't say it tastes the same, though, as that would imply it has taste. It's like eating flour in water.
  • Bread. At least half of the slices will have some form of sand in them, which grinds between your teeth. Don't expect honey oat to have any honey taste. And make sure you eat it in two days, as by the third day the bread guaranteed has healthy green stuff growing on it.
  • Turkey dogs. This is certainly the worst. They actually look the same, until you prepare them (they have no preparation instructions, just claims of things they do not contain). They explode quickly, which makes them look like the monsters from the Silent Hill video game. Now if they only tasted like those monsters... Then at least they would be meaty. But no... All you taste is bread and condiments.
  • Yogurt. This needs a special mention. It is actually not that tasteless. In fact, it almost tastes the same as the other yogurt. However, when Miuty the Cat (with how many letters do you spell that?) eats it, he invariably vomits a few minutes later. How is that for healthy organic food?

This list goes on and on. I'm sure to come back to this some other time. Wish Wegmans was here.