The Dorito Effect: A Good Book You Probably Don't Want to Read

Mark  Schatzker's The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor is a quick and easy read, but while the science is presented simply and effectively, the ideas themselves are not easy to digest . . . especially for a chip lover like me; here are some of the ideas (sans science, if you want that, read the book) in a proverbial nutshell:

1) much of our food has become bland, because we breed for the highest yield, the most pest-resistance and the best supermarket appearance . . . this as true for chicken as it is for broccoli and tomatoes . . . and the stuff in the book on chicken is pretty horrific . . . the chickens we are eating are abnormal genetically altered infants that grow at such a rapid rate that if you put it in human terms a two month human infant would weight 660 pounds . . . because of this the meat lacks flavor and nutrition, the flesh is watery and doesn't contain any of the good fats that more mature meat contains;

2) chicken used to be loaded with flavor-- especially older birds-- and there were varieties of chicken-- some for frying, some for broiling, some for stew-- but now all chicken is flavorless and has to be flavored post-slaughter, marinated and rubbed and coated and spiced;

3) we desire flavor because flavor indicates nutrition, but artificial and added flavors trick our brain into thinking we are getting a variety of food when we are not;

4) our body will keep eating these junk foods because our gut is waiting for the secondary compounds-- the fiber and vitamins and minerals and antioxidants-- which signal that we've had enough . . . you can eat enough McDonalds or potato chips to make yourself sick, but you can't do this with radicchio;

5) there is hope: people are trying to breed heirloom tomatoes for higher yield; it's possible to get a real chicken if you try hard enough; and kale and arugula have become very popular . . . Schatzker's advice is to try new natural foods, even if it's just a nibble of kale or mackerel; seek flavorful real foods; eat meat from pastured animals; avoid synthetic flavor technology; organic doesn't always equal good; use herbs and spices to complement food, not to cover up the blandness; don't pop vitamins; eat dark chocolate, drink wine and craft beer; find amazing fruit and give it to your kids; and demand better tasting chicken, strawberries, broccoli, carrots, potatoes, beef, etcetera . . . if you demand flavor, it will come, and with good flavor comes micronutrients and all kinds of other good things . . . and if you take one thing away from this post, it should be this: the lemon/lime flavoring in Sprite will NOT cure scurvy.


Whitney said...

I want to know what's in Sprite...

rob said...

drink craft beer you say?

zman said...

Eat more possum?

In all seriousness, seek out fresh eggs from free roaming chickens. They are completely unlike the stuff at the store and delicious. Kale is good if you sauté it with garlic and olive oil and stir in some Parmesan cheese.

Dave said...

we had some fresh eggs in vermont that we bought from the neighbor folks-- those suckers had some firm yolks!

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