Kummerspeck and other tidbits on eating

Burger King is the client I work on, so I’ve been immersing myself in the history and culture of eating and food. I just finished The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I think I read an article he did for the NY Times that inspired me earlier this year to organize people in my office to buy food shares to be delivered from a CSA farm in Virginia. It didn’t work out unfortunately because the farmer was killed in a car accident. (How do I transition from that??)

I still have unrequited  desires to eat more local, organic food, and now after reading this book, grass finished beef and other meat. I never lived on a farm and had no idea that cows aren’t supposed to eat corn. I had positive feelings toward “Corn Fed Beef” before I read this book. Turns out corn is the root of all evil. I’m not exaggerating. My new plan to fix the health care system is to eliminate corn subsidies – maybe even all industrial agriculture subsidies – and reward small diversified farms. If it were cheaper to offer healthy food, you bet Burger King would find a way to make their food from fresh, local, less processed ingredients. Healthy food could be convenience food.

I  also read Scientific American Mind and learned a new word – kummerspeck – literally, “grief bacon” which refers to a food that helps cushion negative emotions. The term comes from widows who would eat after their husbands died in war. What we call emotional eating. There are so many reasons to eat – from hunger, habit, boredom, reward, emotional void and more. And it’s interesting to think about which brands and products can fit each occasion.

2 thoughts on “Kummerspeck and other tidbits on eating

  1. Great to see your blog come to life again. I have the Omnivore’s dilemma on my reading list too. And I think it’ll be next.
    But regarding the healthy food thing: I’m not really sure if BK would offer healthier food it it were cheaper. They offer what people want. And having worked a little on the McD account in germany I have noticed that people actually kind of like junk food a lot. They know it’s bad but sometimes they just want to be bad 🙂
    Anyway another great film to watch is We feed the world. An Austrian documentary on everything that’s wrong with the european agriculture. I’m not sure if it’s available in english yet, but it has an english website. http://www.we-feed-the-world.at/en/film.htm

  2. See your point – BK is about indulgence, but you can indulge on beef that was feed grass and allowed to roam pasture rather than a feed lot (you’ll see in the book, not pretty). And they would use local lettuce and tomato that’s organic if it proved to be cheaper. Believe me, mere pennies cause them to make decisions about how they will create a product.

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