Food that has conquered aging

Michael Pollan, the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food, is known to carry around, for years, the same two pieces of processed/industrialized cakes. They showed no signs of spoilage. When someone I know went to one of his lectures and told me that, I immediately remembered a friend of mine who did a test in school in which the students had to analyze the natural breakup of minimally-processed foods vs the stuff we get at fast-food joints. They took a Big Mac and a homemade hamburger and watched it during a week. They were both made on the same day and each day changes were noticed on the homemade hamburger, whose bread started breaking up sooner, its lettuce went limp after one day, and by the end of the week, it smelled awful and had mold all over it. Meanwhile, the Big Mac looked exactly the same. I thought that was pretty scary. But yesterday a friend sent me this video, which showed by a three-year-old McDonald’s hamburger and fries looked like. Very scary.

I lived in the US when I was 6 years old and fell under the spell of Ronald McDonald and his friends. The year after we returned to Brazil, Rio de Janeiro had its first McDonald’s and my brothers and I were in heaven. We loved it, as many children do. In Brazil, North-American fast food franchises is not really the cheap food of the masses – there’s plenty of cheaper, healthier alternatives around – but rather, it is considered a treat to go to McDonald’s or Pizza Hut. My brothers still consider it a big treat, take their children to it, and speak of McDonald’s lovingly whenever they happen to live in a city without a franchise. I slowly weaned out, becoming more suspicious of the kind of food served in fast food restaurants here in Canada. I would spend over a year without going to McDonald’s and then when I did, my stomach always hurt afterward. And after watching the video mentioned above, my suspicions only get solidified.

I have nothing against eating hamburgers, french fries, muffins, etc, but I’d rather make those at home or eat them in places where you know that french fries are simply potatoes that have been cut that day and fried. Not some freak of nature that has conquered aging and looks unspoiled after three years.

Click here for an interview with Michael Pollan

Author: guerson

Food-obsessed historian and knitter.

5 thoughts on “Food that has conquered aging”

  1. I was shocked when some rich Barra teenagers told me THE pizza place to go to is Domino’s. I think horrified is a better word. And I am always amazed by the perpetually long lines at McDonald’s here. But after living in other places in Latin America I can tell you this fad is not limited to Brazil, sadly.

  2. Rachel,

    Domino’s better than all the amazing thin-crust pizza baked in wood stoves?? Gosh, we sank to a new level of glorification of things foreign, it seems. Wait until they find out that the number 1 food missed by Brazilians who immigrate to Canada is probably pizza… Particularly among paulistas.

    I know it isn’t restricted to Brazil… I still remember the ridiculously-long lines at the first McDonald’s to open in Moscow after the end of the cold war…

    When I was in Spain, there was a big campaign by the government of Catalonia to bring back the Mediterranean diet. Apparently, people were falling into the fast food trap of eating lots processed, ready-to-eat meals, french fries, hamburgers, etc, and it was already showing on health statistics.

  3. Oi Alexandra tudo bem? Primeiro queria pedir mil desculpas pois está tentando me convidar para a feijoada dos brazucas há um tempão e nunca que dá certo! O último convite que vc fez eu estava chegando no Brasil de férias (na verdade ainda estou por aqui, volto para Toronto dia 21 de maio)e queria dizer que este mês eu e o Maurício queremos ir sim para a feijoada de 25 de maio. Outra coisa, eu vou te enviar um e-mail para te fazer um convite e ver se você topa ok?
    bjs e inté

  4. Aaaarrrggghhhh! Que nojo! Sempre que vejo essas coisas, digo a mim mesma que nunca mais vou comer no McDonald’s, mas é tããããããããooooo difícil resistir. Sei que é uma porcaria mas eu ADORO! Só tenho certeza de uma coisa: não vou levar minha filha a lanchonetes fast food porque não acho que seja lugar de criança. Ela certamente vai ter uma alimentação mais saudável. Talvez essa seja a minha salvação também. Pelos filhos fazemos qualquer coisa… :o)

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