The Ramblings of Annie Abalam

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Playing With Our Food

I spent the greater part of last night rummaging food blogs for a piece that not only intrigued me, but incited enough cognitive response for me to write anything worthwhile.  The search yielded “Another pet peeve: can’t kids just eat?” Also from Food Politics, this piece discusses a new idea scientists believe will encourage children to eat fruits: My Fruity Faces.  My Fruity Faces are colorful stickers with faces that can be put on food – and consumed.  The main thought is that by making fruits more “fun,” children will be more inclined to eat them. 

I have the same qualms with this that Marion Nestle does.  To begin, the first ingredient (meaning the largest) is sugar.  Who would’ve guessed children would be more interested in fruit that is higher in sugar content than fruit that is not? Golly gee.  I am not certain of how much sugar is in these “My Fruity Faces,” but I would put money on it being a significant enough number to defeat the purpose of eating the fruit in the first place.  If an apple tastes like an Air Head, I would argue that it is not worth eating.

My other concern with this idea is that these are stickers.  You can stick them onto food, meaning they contain adhesive.  I think if you asked somebody “Would you like some glue with your apple?” They would most likely decline your very generous offer, even if it would make it taste “better”.

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Weekly Food Log

As we reach the end of the second week of class, my dietary choices remain the same – still vegan, nothing new.  Prior to this morning, I had no idea how I was going to turn “nothing has changed” into 250 words, but after our exhilarating class, I definitely have something to say.

The videos we watched were not foreign to me, and for the most part, were fairly tame (in the grand scheme of farm animal abuse videos – what we saw was vile, but it definitely gets worse).  Although I was asked to be a monster in class, as I left the room, I felt terrible.  It was like I had relapsed back to 14-year-old Psycho Vegan.  When I told my boyfriend what happened, he said “Annie, I agree that what they do to animals on factory farms is wrong, but I don’t think animals are beaten or thrown every day.” He was very wrong when he said this for two reasons: 1) animal cruelty happens every day.  As I said in class, it is a norm embedded in that culture and 2) I was still in 14-year-old Psycho Vegan state, so he shouldn’t have been surprised when I nearly lit his shoelace on fire after we walked out of Clyde’s. 

Once I settled down, I realized I had a mission on my hands: if I have no reason to change my diet (with the exception of buying local), I’ll continue to change his.  I will  most definitely be spending tomorrow finding footage of dairy cow abuse, plopping him down in front of it, and proving my point once and for all.  I will also be writing an email to my peers, apologizing for my behavior that even I am agitated by.

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Science’s Next Stab at Eradicating E. Coli O157: H7

At this point in the course, my diet has not changed at all, and I doubt that it will.  I have already enjoyed The Omnivore’s Dilemma, so re-reading it is definitely fun, but I have not learned anything new from that source.  As for the other article we read, while I think it did an excellent job telling a story, most (if not all) of the information was something that I had seen in the past.  (Fortunately, I never get tired of reading about food politics and am happy to absorb the same information time and time again, depressing as it may be.)  What I am looking forward to is finding even more reasons to motivate my boyfriend to continue leaning towards a full-time vegan diet, and I think that the discussions we will have over the next few months will aid me in my quest.

I have spent most of my time in class trying to gauge how others will react to what they are about to learn.  I get upset every time I read about inhumane treatment of animals, or how unsafe it is for my family and friends to be… well, ignorant.  While I am not judging my peers, I am trying to evaluate whether I think they will be affected by what they read.  I was excited to take this class for a few reasons: 1) to expand my knowledge of something that greatly interests me and 2) to know that others are learning about food through an academic lens, and not from a wild activist like myself.  The topics we will explore are not ones that can be dismissed once you spend the time thinking about them, in my opinion.  At the end of the semester, I doubt that there will be vegetarians in the class, but I hope that they will be more aware of what makes its way (or doesn’t) onto their plate.

Food Politics discusses a new theory for eliminating (or “significantly affecting” the presence of) E. Coli O157:H7.  Apparently, shocking beef with an electrical current reduces this deadly strain of E. Coli’s likelihood of presenting itself.  The study conducted only examines the surface of the meat, however, so the reality that E. Coli lurks beneath the surface went untested.  The post links to an article that details the study further.  The scientists admitted that there was a possibility that inactivation of E. Coli cells could be attributed to either the formation of active chlorine gas, or the sodium chloride solution that the samples were placed in.  Still, the study’s final conclusion indicates that the “Log reduction of E. Coli was significantly affected by current intensity, frequency, and duration of treatment.”  The wording of this conclusion seems rather strong after stating earlier in the paper that electrical currents were merely the “most likely cause” of log reduction of E. Coli.

Most people in their right minds acknowledge that eating raw meat is not in their best interest.  Cooking food typically reduces the appearance of bacteria, thus shocking the surface of meat is not the answer to the meat contamination conundrum.  The results of this study do not impress me at all – from what I’ve read, no definitive knowledge was gained, and consumers appear to be in the same position they were prior to the study.  Furthermore, I think that the answer to the problem does not – and should not – lie in more scientific research.  As of right now, many people know that the food we raise livestock on is not ideal.  We also know that raising livestock the way Americans do greatly aids in the proliferation of E. Coli O157:H7 and other bacteria.  If the government would simply make use of this practically common knowledge, we probably would not be wasting our time trying to use electricity to make our food safe.

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