I want to talk about something a good deal more basic: the awkward fact that the food you can produce in your backyard garden, or acquire in any other way likely in a deindustrializing world, does not magically appear in the forms that most Americans are used to consuming. A nation used to eating factory-breaded chicken tenders and JoJos to go is going to face some interesting traumas when food once again consists of live chickens, raw turnips, and fifty-pound sacks of dry navy beans.
It’s easy as well as entertaining to poke fun at America along these lines, but the difficulties involved are very real. A very large fraction of today’s Americans, provided with a plucked chicken, a market basket of fresh vegetables, and that fifty-pound sack of navy beans, would be completely at a loss if asked to convert them into something tasty and nourishing to eat…
You may be thinking that it’s all very well to praise home-cooked meals produced from raw materials, but cooking that way is a very time-consuming process, not to mention one that involves a vast amount of hard work. You’ve seen the gyrations that actors in chef hats go through in cooking programs on TV, you’ve glanced over the forbidding pages full of exotic ingredients and bizarre processes that make today’s gourmet cookbooks read like so many tomes of dire enchantment out of bad fantasy fiction, you’ve seen racks of women’s magazines that treat elaborate timewasting exercises disguised as cooking instructions as a goal every family ought to emulate, and you’ve unconsciously absorbed the legacy of most of a century of saturation advertising meant to convince you that cooking things for yourself from scratch is an exercise in the worst sort of protracted drudgery, and probably gives you radioactive halitosis and ring around the collar to boot, so you really ought to give it up and go buy whatever nice product the nice man from the nice company is trying to sell you.
If all this has convinced you that you don’t have time to cook, dear reader, you have been had.
The really sad thing is that the package comes with a bold blue stripe across the top left front of the package exhorting everyone to “HEY! Read my label!”. So I did.
It’s not as if it’s got as much “dehydrated cane juice” as Cap’n Crunch. I did a quick comparison. The Hain caramel popped corn cakes have a 15 gram serving size, containing 4 grams of sugars (at least the FDA keeps them nonest within the “Nutrition Facts” box!). I compared this to the boxes of Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios on the kitchen table. Both of these have serving sizes of 30 grams; Cheerios contains 1 gram of sugars, Honey Nut Cheerios contains 11 grams.
So, the Hain caramel corn has 8 times as much sugar as plain Cheerios. On the other hand, it’s only got 73% of the sugar of Honey Nut Cheerios. Nothing that should have to be hidden behind a misleading label.
Hain isn’t the only offender, sadly. Try a Google search for “dehydrated cane juice” yourself.