Once a week, I sort the newspapers in our home. The Thursday paper is my favorite because of the food section.
This week, there was an article on Southern cooking. It was talking about how there is a mis-perception of Southern good, that it is just more than just bacon and grits. And the article goes on and talks about hoppin’ John, the rice and pea dish that is traditionally eaten on New Year’s for good luck. One of the people quoted for the article, Glenn Roberts, gives some background on the dish and how modern machinery removed the nuances that made the dish so delicious and flavorful. Then the article goes on to describe how high end Southern restaurants serve this traditional dish, with heirloom rice and artisinal bacon.
What I found sad was how modernization destroyed the flavor of food. Yes, machines made it easier to harvest and science allowed us to grow strains that were pest and disease resistant. But what else have we taken away from the food?
This is partially why I do not care for chain restaurants. especially the mid-range ones. The food is lacking flavor and all I can taste is the fat, salt and sugar used to cover up the bland food. I recently when to a chain restaurant and ordered their pancakes. Well, I let my son pick and he picked the super sugary one. (hahaha, of course he would, what was I thinking?!) I scraped off most of the topping and filling and just ate the pancake. Bleah. What really bummed me out was I remember LOVING this chain when I was high school and wishing I could make pancakes as good as theirs! I don’t know if my tastes have changed or if it’s the product that has changed. All I knew was that I could have saved my $30 and made better pancakes, a better omelette and better coffee at home for far less money. And that’s not even using organic or artisinal ingredients!