Monday, July 27, 2009

"Food, Inc." Now Showing in Las Vegas

As I've said before, I'm not a one-trick pony. I have many different interests, with food being one of the top. I LOVE cooking my own meals. I feel so blessed to now have a kitchen big enough and modern enough (don't ask about my old digs in SoCal!) to give me the opportunity to experiment more with my cooking.

However, I must also admit that I enjoy the occasional night out. And yes, when I go out I sometimes like to go "all out" and check out one of those "fancy schmancy dancy" places that get all those rave reviews. That's why I always check out local restaurant John Curtas' wonderful Eating Las Vegas blog before making my next fine dining reservation.

So anyway, I noticed yesterday that John Curtas mentioned "Food, Inc." coming to town. I was quite excited in learning this... Until I found out it's only showing at the Regal theater on Sahara in Summerlin South. Still, I want to make the effort to trek across town to see it. I hope you can, too.

Why? I'll let Mr. Curtas explain:

The message of Food Inc. is that the giant corporations that control our food supply don’t want us to know what we’re eating. Ignorance is bliss to their corporate thinking, and the less we know about how that chicken was raised, or the predatory practices of soybean farming, the more we will continue blissfully strolling down the center aisles of our supermarkets, shoving processed corn, soy and wheat products into our pieholes to their everloving profits and our everlasting doom.

If you’ve read Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation or Michael Pollan’s Ominvore’s Dilemma or In Defense of Food, nothing on the screen will be news to you. But watching an overweight, diabetes-ridden poor family fill up on cheap protein from a fast food window drives home the point that we have sold our souls to high-fructose corn-syrup, genetically-adulterated soy-fed-white-meat-bred-botched-bovine-mad-cow-corporate madness. The thinking of which goes something like: because we can do something (and make a healthy profit) we should do it. [...]

The facts are we are the most unhealthy first world country on the planet – one in five children born after 2000 will suffer from juvenile diabetes – one in two if they come from a minority background.

There is a direct cause and effect between the over-sugared, fat and carb-laden meals that lower income families can feast on, and these statistics. Food Inc. drives home the point that back in the fifties, government subsidies allowed the wheat, corn and soybean mega-farms to produce such an abundance of these easily storable commodities, that it was only a matter of time until food scientists figured out how to adulterate them into virtually every kind of food imaginable. And it’s a short hop from artificially low production costs to a 99 cent Happy Meal.

This is why I mostly stopped eating fast food long, long ago. (And even when I occasionally do, I'm careful about where I order it.) Believe it or not, humans were not made to survive on high-fructose corn syrup, bleached flour, and grease alone. Actually, we shouldn't be having too much of any of that. But thanks to an outdated agricultural regime that refers to corporate agribusiness as "family farmers" as they give them subsidy after subsidy to keep producing this garbage that plagues many communities (especially poorer inner city communities) in nearby fast-food joints and convenience stores, we now have an obesity epidemic and scores of health problems that were unimaginable not that long ago.

Sometimes, I feel guilty that I can go to Trader Joe's and buy fresh, local, and organic produce while even some in my family (especially the ones living in poorer inner city areas in places like San Francisco & Orange County) say they usually can only afford that greasy "McMeal Combo" or pre-packaged convenience store sandwich. It's sad that the inequality in this society even extends to the very food we eat. Many of us can enjoy the better food in life while others are pretty much forced to eat this synthetic crap.

So anyway, please see "Food, Inc." at the Regal theater in Summerlin South. And once you're done seeing the film, consider doing something to give more people access to the good food that so many of us take for granted.

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