Culture: May 2008 Archives

Papa-Lu wins!

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My You've Got Mail post below was chosen as the best answer by the guy who originally asked the question on Ask Meta Filter.

Hooray for the narcissism and misguided optimism of the 90s!

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Civilizational DeathWatch

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A Really Messed Up Relationship

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This interview with doctor and author Daphne Miller from Gourmet is worth your time.

...the taste of hot is lost from a lot of people’s palates in the U.S., I think. Hot and sour and fermented are all sort of erased from the average American diet, so we basically just have sweet, salty, and fatty.

DM: Absolutely. There is hot, but it’s very combined with sweet. Hot is not actually an instinctual taste that we seek out, like sweet, salty, and fatty; hot is a learned healing taste. So [the food industry has] harnessed the idea that hot is somehow good, but matched it with loads of high fructose corn syrup so that it becomes palatable.

But fermented is probably one of the greatest losses, I’m figuring out. I swear, if we could get everybody in this country to eat one serving a day of a really good-quality yogurt that was relatively unsweetened, and truly made through a fermentation process, I think that in itself would be a major step forward in terms of public health. That, or some other fermented food. But most people have nothing that’s truly fermented in their diet. Even the pickles and sauerkraut and things that you can buy in some supermarkets across America aren’t made through a true fermentation process anymore. So they lack all the health benefits. But recently the medical literature has been showing that genetic information is actually put into our gut through eating fermented foods. It’s becoming really obvious that this plays a key role in everything from food allergies to possible cancer prevention...

CH: And so it’s really telling to look at cultures where Western diseases just don’t exist.

DM: Right. And the proof positive is that we’re exporting this disease now. So effectively. Okinawa was just amazing: You have this culture that is so remarkable for longevity and low rates of cancer, and within one generation, our food corporations have achieved near-magical results in terms of transforming Okinawans into a group of obese diabetics with metabolic syndrome. You have these grandmothers who are 100 watching their great-grandchildren waddle around and suffer from obesity.

Miller's new book, which explores the health benefits of traditional diets from around the world, is going on my "library list."

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Culture category from May 2008.

Culture: March 2008 is the previous archive.

Culture: November 2008 is the next archive.

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