4:38 PM 5/29/2006
By Lucien Beauley
Article Word Count: 556
At the turn of the 20TH century and in the throws of our industrial revolution, frontier families began losing much of their precious time…much family time. This was primarily due to the increased need for the wife to earn some of the household expenses in order to purchase the new luxuries of this industry growth. After all, electricity had just been introduced, along with the automobile. Most of them felt they could have a piece of it if they worked a little harder. Consequently, the traditional chores of food preparation became lax. Lost were the full day long meal preparations of their recent past. As this leap in industry growth gave them the new luxuries, it also lessened the quality of “their daily meals”.
In order to even try to explain the exact transition from the fully home prepared family meal to what would eventually become prepared by companies who would specialise in only doing this would take more than just a few paragraphs. It took the electric refrigerator/freezer, the gas and electric stove along with the microwave oven , which came much later to spur the quantum leap in the growth of this new service. Given the need for this greatly expanded food service industry came the need for the many shortcuts, food additives, preservatives and eventually, along with the natural transition in industry…the obvious need to stay in business by making a profit in the process. Our government became one instrument in the ability of companies to achieve this by having our Department of Agriculture supply the needed knowledge to help the manufacturer in the area of fertilizers in growing greater amounts of food per acre. Another was the Food and Drug Administration, which would regulate what went into the manufacture of food preparations, such as preservatives, food coloring, etc.. for the consumer.
As we progressed to the middle of the 20TH century, our food industry had by now gained a vast knowledge in food preparation, marketing and profitability. As with any evolving and profit minded industry, maintaining a comfortable profit can change methods of operation and they are no exception. The food manufacturers found that by adding preserving chemicals, or in some cases processed vegetable oils, the shelf life of their product could be greatly extended. Our governing agency, the FDA has been trying to regulate some of the processes being used by the manufacturers after long public outcry, but only a limited number have been removed. Because of the ongoing food adulterations, some of our basic food staples have increased in toxicity levels to the human liver. Even a simple serving of commercially manufactured “Ma’s” apple pie has registered a very marginal toxicity level to our liver. Bleaching of our processed wheat flour is one contributor to the increase in “white” flour toxicity levels. The food industry must still remove package ads which claim “Blueberry Muffins” that contain “no” physical blueberry, but only imitations made up of blue coloring.
After many decades, our world is only now beginning to slowly rectify the imperfections of our food industry, but even with this slow reversal, the images of what once was served at the turn of the 20TH century it is hoped will return again if only in our dreams.