Food is the favourite intoxicant of Americans and to a large extent also Canadians and they eat extreme food, i.e. deep fried turkey, French fries, breaded and deep fried food of all types, bacon, eggs fried in ample fat and even deep fried chocolate bars, just to name a few.
American restaurant, fast food operation, and eatery portions are literally gargantuan. Consumers believe big is better. In Texas there exists at least one steakhouse that will complement a 64 oz. (1,920 grams steak if you finish it. Surprisingly every year, at least four people manage to devour such a portion of cooked meat. In developing countries, 20 people would be satisfied with this amount of meat along with some bread, rice, or noodles and possibly a few pieces of vegetable.
Recently, I was in Armenia on assignment to a restaurant, and talked with a few well-travelled people who wanted to know why American vegetables and meat look so appealing but lacks flavour.
The question is valid and requires analysis. Food production in the USA is a multi-billion dollar industry. On the average, farmers cultivate 1000 hectares of land, corporation go much higher. American farms are mechanized, and scientifically managed with crop rotation schedules times almost to the day. Highly specialized geneticists devoting their considerable knowledge and energies to create bigger, thicker-skinned, faster growing specimens of vegetable and/or fruits, man their laboratories.
All produce is over fertilized and over irrigated, heavily pesticide fed, and generally processed in one form or another. You can even buy washed precut salad laced with antioxidants in a plastic pouch. The dressing comes in a separate package attached to the salad. Most fruits are and vegetables are picked unripe, graded, packaged and trucked thousands of kilometers to markets. The same is true for all tropical fruits and other that are shipped from as far away as Australia, South Africa, or India to North America.
Processed food reigns supreme. People actually like processed food that generally contains significant amounts of salt and/or sugar both of which help compensate for lack of taste. Fiber-rich food is processed and sold as breakfast cereal.
As the founder of Barberian’s Steak House in Toronto said: “Corporations make millions feeding unsuspecting consumers with flour, fat, salt and sugar.
In developing and underdeveloped countries people eat seasonal food. All food comes from small-scale family farms and people pick the produce in the morning before bringing it to the market. Seldom will anything be left over for the following day.
They cannot afford pesticides other than those natural to combat aphids or insects, rely totally on natural precipitation, and use seeds from one crop the next. They reject the notion of genetically modified food and no produce goes through irradiation to render it infertile.
In developing or underdeveloped countries no one dreams of watermelon, peaches or apricots in winter.
Flavourful food becomes is seasonal, of the right variety, grown pesticide and fungicide free, appropriately watered, picked ripe and kept cool before it reaches markets. You cannot compare the taste of naturally grown Ontario strawberry or asparagus to any imported specimen.
We get huge strawberries in winter from California. They look appealing but taste like sawdust, ditto for tomatoes, English parthenocerpic cucumbers, huge cabbages, carrots and potatoes but all lack taste for all the reasons discussed above.
Meat, fish and poultry are other foods that, by and large, have become manufactured commodities.