And by passion I don't mean something sexy, but with conviction and opinions, things we are willing to yell in public about, in front of strangers and bare acquaintances.
Since, (not as individuals, but...) as a society, we don't have strong (unified) opinions about food we are easily led willy-nilly in search of the ANSWER.
Sadly (sorta), since when it comes to food there is no 1 answer, there are almost as many wrong answers as right... and much of food regulation is about cutting off the things that are DANGEROUSLY not food. However that has left plenty of room for things that are only OBNOXIOUSLY not food.
If we have no strongly held positions on what food is, then what it isn't is always up for negotiation. And thus things exist like the concepts of Food Grade Plaster and Food Grade Wood Pulp. One resides in Twinkies and the other in Cheap Ice Cream. Guess which is where.
But that just gets me back to my increasing need to create food, and enjoy and recognize what goes into my food.
And it REALLY reminds me that I used to not care...as much. So I can sympathize with people who don't care... but I also want to reach out to them and awaken their taste buds... they are great tool in the creation of "caring about what you eat."
And yet our government in regulating food is NOT interested in GOOD food, just what will not make you (immediately) sick... that is not poison you. If it will only make you sick in the long run, it is still considered "safe."
In the interest of fairness, language that qualifies one variety of food as better than another IS NOT ALLOWED. Tastiness is NEVER ALLOWED to be a consideration. Strangely, in determining what is and isn't food, scientifically determinable nutritional content is also NOT ALLOWED in the language of food recommendation.
Only a culture where most people don't cook with passion could there be a lobby of, "Frozen Battered Potato Products." (really... look it up. One wonders, do potatoes need batter - and for lots of products?)
Can we get back in to touch with our food? OH Yes!!! This is my favorite part about cooking. You ALWAYS have a chance to redeem yourself the next day.
I think it is OK to say some food is better than others. This is a question of a government honestly rating different methods of providing food. If they want to give a gold start to all comers, as long as they don't kill you within the next week, what is the point of a rating system.
I give up. I'm trusting my tongue.
My tongue tells me local organic milk is better than big business conventional (non-organic) milk.
My tongue also tells me local, but large conglomerate farmer owned conventional milk is AS GOOD AS big business organic milk (gasp... I know!).
My tongue (and tummy) tells me small, locally owned "conventional" milk is BETTER than big business organic milk (WHAT!!!!). Taste it. Less travel, more grass.
And local, organic milk is something special. Here in the greater GREATER Seattle area, I vote for Fresh Breeze Dairy. My digestion works better. My son drinks more, and the half & half and cream cooks like nothing I have ever found elsewhere.
So - Yay for the government role in food safety. I continue to question their role in determining food quality. Every version of food is NOT equal. Some are better than others. But it is up to us to determine the gold stars.
And since who gets the Gold Star can change over time... in the long run, I think it is good it is up to us as the consumer. BUT we must be educated, and we MUST speak up.