Scanning Around With Gene: Wholesome Living, With Cheese
I have what you might call "food phobias." Fortunately none of my various eating disorders are of the debilitating sort. I get by in polite society and I'm not endangering my health. Yes, being a dinner guest can create a flurry of anxiety, but I've never actually gagged at anyone's table.
I blame my mother, of course, for my eating peculiarities, so I thought it fitting to look at a small brochure I recently found among her things. Produced by the National Dairy Council in 1950, it was intended to instruct small children on how eating lots of saturated fats and being polite would make you grow big and strong. Click on any image for a larger version.
Saturated fats were most certainly a concept my mother bought into. If it wasn't deep fried or swimming in butter, it was covered with cheese (or at least some product that resembled cheese -- all I know is that it was yellow). The only flavoring allowed in our house was salt.
Those were the days when "a little meat on your bones" was a good thing and a sign of prosperity, not diabetes. The definition of "wholesome" was different then. Lots of definitions were.
I lived in a house where if you didn't like something, or you didn't think you liked something, you didn't have to eat it. The list of food I've never tried is staggering and now that I'm an adult, a bit embarrassing. Perhaps if I had found this pamphlet back then, I wouldn't be such a picky eater now.
The National Dairy Council advocated eating a variety of healthy foods, which presumed there were, in fact, healthy foods in the home. In my childhood, most items came from a can or freezer pouch. Regardless, whatever nutrition the item contained was obliterated in the over-cooking process.
We've learned quite a bit about nutrition since 1950, yet we still churn out a lot of unhealthy kids. Yesterday's high-fat diet has turned into today's high-fructose one. And for convenience sake, we still eat too many things that come out of the freezer. So maybe a little dairy isn't so bad.
Today, the National Dairy Council continues to promote its products to young people and parents, suggesting on its website that three servings a day of dairy products is about right. Only now they show kids eating a lot more yogurt, and everything in moderation. No more ice cream for lunch.
I was never a big dairy eater, though since I did grow up to be very tall, I must have gotten just enough.
Times have changed and for all I know there are now brochures from the National Sushi Federation advocating the benefits of raw fish. Kids these days have a lot more choices. I hope that leads to a greater sense of adventure when it comes to food, and many fewer food phobias.
But don't tell me any kid in their right mind would ever buy the idea that the dentist is their friend.