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Author Topic: The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat  (Read 1397 times)

Barbara from New Jersey

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The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat
« on: October 29, 2016, 04:51:18 AM »
I just finished a fascinating book by Thomas McNamee, an award winning nature writer.  The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat:
Craig Claiborne and the American Food Renaissance, Simon and Schuster, 2012) is about how Craig Claiborne wrote various critiques of our food.  He trained at the famous Swiss Hotel School:E'cole Professionnelle de la Societe' Suisse des Hoteliers where he learned about every aspect of food preparation/cuisine, management and service.  Quality ingredients, freshness and impeccable service/techniques were the most important aspects.   Returning to the US, he was hired by the NY Times and became Food Editor and Columnist.  He was the first person to review restaurants in NYC without identifying himself and his group and popularized many delicious dishes from cultures all over the world.  He paid full price for meals or hotel rooms instead of accepting any compensation from the restaurants, unlike most other reviewers at the time.  Of course, he had an employer provided expense account.

This was in the 1950's.  Instead of the very fresh, locally sourced foods which were properly raised in Europe, he found "the American diet seriously in need of overhauling with denatured and half artificial foods on the rise and the way of life they were giving shape to were  deadly to the soul and body.  Although we are the best fed and most overfed nation on earth, there are vitamin deficiencies at every income level and 20% of our population is now overweight."  (February 25, 1958, NY Times) 

Sound familiar?  Fast forward 60 years and even kitchens are now designed for food prep "on the run" with huge appliances to store food for a very long time.  The word "fresh" is relative.  Wild caught fish is often 2 - 3+ days old by the time the huge fishing boat reaches the fish markets and even older by the time it reaches your kitchen.  Same for produce, eggs etc.  The dairy industry solved their freshness problems by boiling and shaking, treating and packaging their products until only the hardiest vitamins and minerals remain and all the beneficial bacterias are gone.  CAFO, GMO, Roundup Ready etc. were unknown terms in the 1960's. 

Think about how much the food you buy has changed since that time.  Wonder why so many people are sickly? 

Rita

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Re: The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2016, 03:33:31 PM »
Sounds like an interesting book Barbara.  Thanks for the review on that.


And sadly, all those vitamins that disappear after processing, are replaced with isolated synthetic vitamins that have been manufactured in laboratories in China and India.

Barbara from New Jersey

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Re: The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2016, 03:54:52 PM »
Exactly.  Even most of the supplements you buy are often nearly useless. 


Properly raised and fed animals and vegetables should taste delicious on their own.  They need to be fresh, in season or properly preserved.  Specific "umami" combinations  of foods and spices to enhance flavors are all that is needed for a tasty meal.  Europeans knew this.  Craig Claiborne showed us how important those concepts are, even if you aren't cooking a formal French meal.

Rita

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Re: The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2016, 08:08:53 PM »
Does the book have recipes?

Barbara from New Jersey

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Re: The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2016, 08:59:40 PM »
No recipes.  This is basically a biography and a description of culinary issues/fashions from the 1950's - 2000.  Claiborne popularized superb quality regional or ethnic dishes, wrote many cookbooks and reviewed restaurants.  His NY Times Cookbook is considered a classic.   NY Times was his employer and he wrote columns and recipes for them.  He took this topic off the Society Pages and developed a significant following.   

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Re: The Man Who Changed the Way We Eat
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2016, 08:59:40 PM »

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