Thursday 1 May 2014

Something I Have Been Thinking About

Years ago, I was listening to Peter Gzowski interviewing an author on the radio while I was delivering my mail. The author was an English woman who had written a book on food called “Much Depends on Dinner” which talked of the significance of the foods that we take for granted every day.
The book begins with an examination of corn or maize which is a North American staple and is quite literally the basis for our culture and lives. She talks about how there is nothing in a North American supermarket that is untouched by corn, with the exception of fish and that will have been shipped in cartons that are at least partially manufactured using corn. Livestock and poultry are fed with corn, corn oil cooks our food, corn oil is used in the manufacture of soap, insecticides, salad dressings, mayonnaise and MSG is made from corn.

Corn syrup is used for candy bars, ice cream, ketchup, soft drinks, beer, gin and vodka. Corn starch is found in baby food, table salt, icing sugar, instant coffee or anything dehydrated. It is the neutral carrier in thousands of products from headache tablets, tooth paste, cosmetics, dog food, match heads, charcoal briquettes and some detergents. She goes on and on, but the gist of the story is that our society is totally dependant on corn and it’s by products.
Corn is also the foundation for the development of complex societies because it required co-operation from many thousands of people to cultivate, process and distribute the product. This kind of organization just doesn’t happen, political systems are needed to rule the people who are doing this important work and of course military systems need to be in place to protect the people from other people who want your corn wealth. Thus a complex society with many levels of government and an economy is created.

You get the idea, corn is pretty damned important and without corn, there is a good chance we wouldn’t be the people we are today. Margaret also talks of rice which has had an even greater contribution to the world than corn, as amazing as that seems.
What I don’t get is that if corn is the building block of my body and yours, why is it so difficult to digest? We had corn for dinner the other night and inevitably, what goes in must come out. Generally, food that I consume is unrecognizable as food on the way out, except for corn. It looks just as it did on the plate when it is floating in the toilet bowl. I would imagine it would taste the same too, but I don’t ever plan to find out if that is true.

It’s just something I have been thinking about for the last couple of days and I thought I should share.

1 comment:

  1. Way too much information at the end of today's blog, a bit corny also! B