Two of our biggest heart disease risks are diabetes and obesity, and they happen to be two serious health crises in North America. But according to Civil Eats, the roots of both diet-induced diseases may lie in a rarely publicized but even more pernicious epidemic: kitchen illiteracy.
Civil Eats explains:
“The symptoms include a woeful lack of familiarity with that elusive culinary commodity known as ‘real food’ or ‘good food’ while remaining indoors, mesmerized by your monitor or TV screen and mindlessly munching on ersatz edibles. If you have no idea what you’re actually eating, or where it came from, or how it was grown, or are fearful of naked food that’s not encased in microwave-friendly packaging, or petrified by perishable produce that demands any sort of prep – then you too may be suffering from kitchen illiteracy.”
Here in Canada, home of some of the world’s richest farmland, the numbers are staggering. For every beautiful apple we grow in the lush orchards of the Okanagan, Niagara or Annapolis Valley regions, we import five. For every home-grown pear, we import 700. For more staggering reality, watch this compelling 3-minute film: Eat Real. Eat Local.
The cure may be as close as the book Kitchen Literacy: How We Lost Knowledge of Where Food Comes From and Why We Need to Get it Back by Oregon writer and historian Ann Vileisis, who writes:
“As the distance between farm and table grew, we went from knowing particular places and specific stories behind our foods’ origins to instead relying on advertisers’ claims. The woman who raised, plucked, and cooked her own chicken knew its entire life history, while today most of us have no idea whether hormones were fed to our poultry.
“Industrialized eating is undeniably convenient, but it has also created health and environmental problems, including food-borne pathogens, toxic pesticides, and pollution from factory farms.”
There’s a very high hidden cost in modern meals, but Vileisis shows that greater understanding can lead us to healthier and more sustainable choices. Revealing how knowledge of our food has been lost and how it might now be regained, Kitchen Literacy promises to make us think differently about what we eat.