Here’s a very interesting piece (shared by Maureen Ogle; thanks Maureen) by Rachel Laudan, and excerpted from the book The Gastronomica Reader. It’s all about the myths of how food used to be in the “good old days” and how many positive improvements to our health and well-being were a direct result of food production and processing becoming more modern and industrialized. The article was reprinted in the Utne Reader as In Praise of Fast Food. It’s pretty thought-provoking.
Laudan concludes with this:
Nostalgia is not what we need. What we need is an ethos that comes to terms with contemporary, industrialized food, not one that dismisses it; an ethos that opens choices for everyone, not one that closes them for many so that a few may enjoy their labor; and an ethos that does not prejudge, but decides case by case when natural is preferable to processed, fresh to preserved, old to new, slow to fast, artisanal to industrial. Such an ethos, and not a timorous Luddism, is what will impel us to create the matchless modern cuisines appropriate to our time.