Thursday, July 19, 2018

American Tomato

by ranfuchs (writer), CT, USA, February 22, 2010

Few of us remember what a real vegetable tastes like. Haven't we sacrificed too much?

Do you know what a cucumber or a tomato tastes like? This may sound like a silly question, but with the way our diet evolves, and the contemporary food industry manufactures food, many Americans have no idea what a vegetable tastes like.

Many Americans, as well as their counterparts in the developed world, have never tasted a real tomato, a cucumber or a strawberry. For many, the only encounters with vegetables have been through an industrial mock-up food, which advertising presents as the real thing.

As kids, a tomato with a slice of bread would have been a wonderful part of our diet. Sometimes, with just a little more on the side, it would make an entire meal – and a good one as well. I can still recall biting into a ripe tomato with a pinch of salt spread on it, and long forgotten tastes and aromas feel my watering mouth, as if it were the best dessert I was fantasizing about.

The tomatoes of my childhood looked nothing like those we buy today. They came in odd shapes with lumps and bumps, and could have any variation of red, yellow and green. No two tomatoes looked the same. As fruit and vegetables had short shelf life, we had to eat them within a few days. So we made them a major part of our diet, and together with all other vegetables and fruit, ate them with every meal, and between meals. They were our diet, and when we were hungry we simply opened the fridge, found a vegetable or a fruit we liked and snacked.

But these days have gone. Farming has long been replaced by manufacturing, and tastes and flavours have disappeared from our diet in favor of shelf life, color and shape. After all, it’s not the taste but the form that you see on TV, and it’s not the aroma but the color that you see through the plastic bags that separate you, the shopper, from what you buy.

While some still reminiscence of the days were our diet was full of flavor, recent generations only knows the tasteless produce they grew up with, and mistake them for the real thing. No wonder that children nowadays relate healthy to tasteless. No wonder that parents promise a treat to ‘good kids’ who eat this hated food.

By creating produce that is easy to advertise on TV, easy to store, easy to ship, we have created a corporate heaven. But what is the price we pay?

The obvious price is obesity and our health. Fruit and vegetables are hardly considered a normal part of our diet anymore, but rather a medicine one must swallow to keep healthy. But this is only part of the picture. The more subtle price is of us losing our judgment and ability to discriminate. So now, instead of manufacturers competing to satisfy our taste in food, they fight to change our taste to fit their manufacturing.

If this trend continues, we will all end up eating artificially shaped and flavored lab-manufactured protein. Is this is the world we want our children to inherit?

About the Writer

ranfuchs is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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4 comments on American Tomato

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By ranfuchs on February 22, 2010 at 12:16 pm

so let's keep it secret, and not talk again about them :)

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By czarina on March 01, 2010 at 12:12 am

Vegetables are really appropriate for those people under diet. Aside from being nutritious, you don’t even need credit cards because vegetables are also cheaper compare to meat and other foods. Talking about credit cards, don’t you know that there are new credit card laws, thanks to the CARD Act, and while some are happy, the companies that fund those credit cards are weeping in their...whatever. Credit card companies can no longer change interest rates without advanced notice, cannot market to college students, and cannot be given to anyone under 21 years of age without a co-signer of proof of ability to repay. Essentially, it might cut down on people having to get payday loans just to pay credit card bills. The card companies are crying about it, of course, and are anticipating far stricter lending policies.

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By Credo on October 06, 2013 at 05:15 pm

A whole range of things have changed since the industrial revolution. The transition from fresh tasting, detectable smelling aroma in natural foods and what we have today are merely the tip of those changes. Foods today are saturated in chemicals, hormones, and they are genetically grown.

This makes for a very important article...


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By ranfuchs on October 06, 2013 at 06:43 pm

Thanks @Credo,

It's interesting to see how a counter movement is picking pace in Europe and Canada, and some isolated places in the USA. It will be exciting to follow how it evolves here, or if it will be quashed by the big corporate system here.

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