Saturday, June 12, 2010

Oh, Great. Now I Can't Eat Anything.

If you have not seen KING CORN, do yourself a favor and fix that problem. It is currently available on Netflix's "Watch Instantly" list, so queue it up and pop yourself a brimming bowl of-- Actually, no. Don't do that. Don't do that even a little bit.

Prepare to have the safe haven you called "corn" blown up like a slaughterhouse in Dresden. In a limited capacity, corn has always posed an interesting problem, but I have come to learn that it does a lot more than stick around in the toilet bowl. You see, that’s the corn that’s good for you. The bad corn motherfucking kills you.

Since the middle of the 1900’s, corn has been the go-to crop for America’s farmers. And for good reason. The government subsidies are enticing, and farming is, in a big way, what the American Dream is made of. If history has taught us anything, though, it is that the American Dream is also made of indolence and innocent death.


Corn, or more accurately, processed corn, makes food easier to produce in large quantities. From high fructose corn syrup to livestock feed, them yellow kernels is everyplace. During a recent trip to the Publix up my street, I came to the conclusion that it is in many cases more difficult to find food and drink that does not contain corn than does.

And the stuff I love most of all? Red meat? Turns out, I have probably never even tasted the real thing before. That’s right. Corn-fed meat is fundamentally different; it is so derivative of corn that it has a completely different taste than the supermarket schlock I adore.

Scared stiff by the thought of not liking real meat, and simultaneously surprised by the fact that a food documentary had actually shaken me, I took to researching grass-fed beef. To my chagrin, not only is it hard to find, it can be damn expensive when you do manage to track some down. The best advice is the most obvious. Ask the butcher at your local supermarket if any of the meat is grass-fed (they probably won’t have a clue), or ask them who their supplier is. Remember, if he asks if you are a cop, you have to answer honestly.


What this boils down to is a sugary, glistening syrup of doubt and paranoia. Even if I take expensive measures to get my hands on grass-fed meat, how do I even know that the stuff is the real deal? If the sole qualifier is “it tastes different,” I could just as well be munching on a steak cut with laundry detergent.

What if it isn’t the corn at all? What if farmers are contaminating their crops with cholesterol-laden arsenic in order to protest Jimmy Carter’s one-term run as President? It really makes you think.

Just one more ubiquitous ingredient to avoid. Just one more reason to beat meat.

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