We all know what a happy plate looks like:
Parents encourage their kids to brighten the mood of their dinner plates, to remove the burden of all the food on top of them that is, apparently, making them miserable. By finishing a whole meal – the ever-dreaded brussel sprouts and mushy green beans (unfortunately) included – the plates could be expected to break out into a toothy grin andpossibly perform a dinnerware rendition of Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” if licked clean. While our plates may be happy enough to be rid of our food, there may be another, less cheery adjective to describe the state of the food that is typically consumed off of plates in most homes in the United States: processed.
From restaurants and fast food chains to grocery stores and kitchen pantries, the majority of food consumed in a U.S. household comes out of a box – or a can, or a bag, or a carton, or a plastic-encased piece of styrofoam, or a combination, such as a bag inside a box…you get the idea. As Marion Nestle describes in her book entitled Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health,
“The U.S. Food Industry is the remarkably successful result of twentieth-century trends that led from small farms to giant corporations, from a society that cooked at home to one that buys nearly half its meals prepared and consumed elsewhere, and from a diet based on ‘whole’ foods grown locally to one based largely on foods that have been processed in some way and transported long distances.”
This transition in our diets has impacted our environment, our society, and our waistlines in drastic ways – just ask Jared Fogle (AKA: The Subway Guy). This blog is all about finding a truly happy plate, about eating outside the box (bag, carton, can, etc.), about examining our food and making changes for a more positive relationship with where our food comes from and how we go about buying – and eating – a plate full of it. Posts on visits to farms, commentaries on the modern food system, and DIY projects and creations to stock your shelves with those standard boxed goods without buying the box will all be included as a means to reach the ultimate goal: finding reasons to really celebrate our happy plates.