March 02, 2008

A half life, not a shelf life


enriched bleached wheat flour [flour, reduced iron, "B" vitamins (niacin, thiamine, mononitrate (B1), riboflavin (B2), folic acid)], sugar, water, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrongenated vegetable oil and/or animal shortening (contains one or more of: soybean, cottonseed or canola oil, beef fat), whole eggs, dextrose, contains 2% or less of: modified corn starch, glucose, leavenings (sodium and pyrophosphate, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), sweet dairy whey, soy protein isolate, calcium and sodium caseinate, soy flour, salt, mono and diglycerides, polysorbate 60, soy lecithin, cornstarch, corn flour, corn dextrin, cellulose gum, sodium stearoyl lactylate, natural and artificial flavors, sorbic acid (to retain freshness), fd&c yellow 5, red 40.

Quite a cast of characters, huh?

And now thanks to Steve Ettlinger's "pop science journey" into the Neverland of processed, packaged foods, I know a whole lot more about who they are, where they come from, how they evolve, and what roles they play in the many foods that line grocery store shelves. In Twinkie, Deconstructed Ettlinger explores the industrialization and the globalization of the processed food industry as he traces genealogy of each of the sweet snack's ingredients to some rather surprising roots. And he does it without preaching or proselytizing.

Inquiring minds should skip the glorified infomercial that is the Food Network's Unwrapped and head to the bookstore or the library for a copy of his bright orange book. I only wish I'd been able to attend his recent presentation in Mountain View...

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Cheryl said...

I will have to look this out. After reading In Defence of Food, I'm really into checking my ingredients. It's so frightening that something as simple as bread contains so much rubbish!