As you can surely tell by the overstocked shelves in the ad hoc “gluten-free” sections of your locali grocery store, that whole trend is on its way out.
It had a decent run, meanwhile people started to clue in to the straw man arguments against glutinous proteins and simultaneously come to terms with the fact that they’re either a) not actually gluten-intolerant,ii b) can’t afford the up-sell,iii or c) don’t want to eat carbs in general and therefore are unsatisfied by replacing wheat with rice/corn/potato starches.
So after fat was villainised (99% fat-free!), and then sugar idem (99% sugar-free!), and most recently gluten, what will replace the public’s imagination as the latest unfab fad food ? Here’s my bet : Corn.
Corn is currently everywhere and yet everywhere near-invisible, tucked as it is into the dankest corners and darkest recesses of products you would’ve never suspected. Ketchup, ice cream, you name it and the mainstream version, whether on- or off-brand, probably has it.iv Most of the corn that ends up in our foods via grocery store shelves – mostly from prepared foods, granted – is corn grown in the USA, and what we know about corn grown in the USA is that it’s >90% lab-modified, is heavily subsidised by the USG,v and is environmentally egregious.
Basically, it’s poison through and through, but there’s so much corn in the US agricultural system that it has to go somewhere. Unfortunately, this means that that 40% of it is used to produce ethanol, 45% is used to feed livestock, and 15% is used in various foods and drinks. But even that relatively scant fifteen percent is 1.95 bn bushels, equivalent to 68 mn cubic metres, or enough to fill Wembley Stadium 60 times. Every year !
Why do we have so much corn, you ask ? As Herr Popescu astutely observes, it’s the direct result of our very human inclination to marry the rich ugly girl (chemistry) while keeping the pretty poor one on the side (agriculture) :
That’s the whole story : chemistry has more money, and so economically it would have extinguished agriculture by now. We don’t want that to happen, but definitely can’t afford to tell chemistry to pack it. So we’re stuck in what people could describe as the best of all possible worlds : the splendor of choice, with all the cost and inconvenience maintaining that choice imposes.
That being the case, and seeing as I only have one life to live and that I’d like to live it in good health, my radar is now attuned to this pestilent blight. The latest jack-in-the-box to spring out at the grocery store was, yup, good ol’ hot chocolate.vi
That’s right, no less than 9 offerings across 5 brands !vii Such selection !
Thankfully, there’s at least one corn-free hot chocolate mix available at my preferred local grocery, being the veritable cornucopia of selection and the standard-bearer of quality that it is.viii In fact, there are exactly two : one of which is a high-priced organic fair trade item and the other is… Nestle’s Nesquik.ix
Except Nesquik is disqualified from being a “hot chocolate” mix because it lacks any milk ingredients. Leaving only, “camino” by La Siembra Co-operative of Ottawa, Ontario, at $CDN 8.49 for 336g.
Hey, no one said being ahead of the curve would come cheap, at least not for those at the bleeding edge of trends and movements : those first-movers and fast-followers.x
So for me, I’ll have the burger and fries. Hold the corn.
___ ___ ___
- North American, at least. [↩]
- Or not actually that gay ! Or their gluten-intolerance got better ! [↩]
- Despite the tax credits. And yes, quite incredibly, the Canadian federal government does actually offer tax credits on the difference in cost between “normal” and “gluten-free” foods, though the paperwork involved makes the endeavour -EV for anyone with a job. [↩]
- Nevermind the not-so-green ethanol that now poisons our gasoline. “Oh, it’s 10% ethanol so that’s like totally a bio-fuel so that must really be doubleplusgood for mother nature, man.” Wrong again, diesel-driving dipstick. Ethanol burns less efficiently than regular gasoline, meaning more trips to the pump and more dollars out of your pocket. Also, alcohol-based fuels are more corrosive than regular petrol and will damage fuel systems over time, particularly on old vehicles like the ones you’d actually want to drive. This means more trips to the mechanic, more time without your car, and, again, more dollars out of your pocket.
Now, I’m not going to object to USG-grown lab-modified corn being torched instead of being ingested by people, but the much ballyhooed “economics” of corn-based fuel, to say nothing of the detestable greenwashing, holds no water whatsoever. [↩]
- This isn’t quite the nefarious play by the “corn lobby” that it might seem, it’s actually a mutually beneficial arrangement between the cornists and the federalists. On the one hand, corn growers are guaranteed prices for their crop (at least until the federal coffers dry up), and on the other hand, the USG is guaranteed “food” for the thronging masses (at least until the buried risks come to bear). Everybody
winsloses ! [↩]
- “Hey Pete, make your own damn hot chocolate mix. Not like it’s hard !” Ya, ya, ya… No. Really. Like, I’m on it. I get it. Lesson learned. It won’t happen again. STAHP MICROMANAGING ME !!1 [↩]
- The brands included Starbucks, Tim Hortons, Carnation, Western Family (grocery chain house brand), and one other I can’t seem to recall. [↩]
- No, seriously. Every time I travel abroad and come back home to my local Save-On-Foods, I kiss the clean white linoleum floors and thank the heavens for my good fortune. The place is that good. [↩]
- Nestle might be evil incarnate alongside Monsanto, Mondelez, et al., but this Nesquik product really isn’t that bad ! Feel free to look up the polysyllabic chemicals listed and disagree, because that’s exactly what I did and I came away reasonably impressed – which is to say, not completely offended. [↩]
- This phenomenon of phood phads works exactly the opposite of the way, say, Shindler’s train or Bitcoin work, which can be confusing at first. So whereas fad foods, like fad clothes, are expensive at first, the fashions soon trickle down, popularise, and become cheaper through the realisation of economies of scale. How ? Because the quality of the original can be degraded to the point of mass affordability. Schindler’s train and Bitcoin, conversely, are also very, very expensive at the early stage (the former in terms of diamonds, the latter in terms of time), but after they’ve left la gare, they’re gone and they aren’t coming back. How ? Because their quality cannot be degraded. There’s one and only one. [↩]