Back at Meadhouse, 12 hours later, we had a conversation about the prejudice against pre-fab things. We're not disrespecting pre-fab homes anymore. Some of the best-made, coolest houses are in this category. And no one sniffs at ready-to-wear clothing, because no one even knows anyone who wears couture. You might sew your own clothes and knit your own sweaters if you had some meditative, aesthetic relationship with fabric/yarn, but you still wouldn't think ill of the pre-made stuff in the stores. Some people might coo over handmade pottery, but it's more elevated aesthetically to value straightforward perfection that's mass produced and machine-made.
So, let's talk about packaged food — processed food. It's another category of prefab, and it's an area where rejection is on the upswing. The idea of cooking your own food and making everything from scratch — the finest, purest scratch — is pushed by opinion leaders. Should we be following Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan — or would a scoop of skepticism hit the spot? Here's a long — really long — article in The Atlantic with the somewhat distracting title "How Junk Food Can End Obesity."
Foodlike substances, the derisive term Pollan uses to describe processed foods, is now a solid part of the elite vernacular. Thousands of restaurants and grocery stores, most notably the Whole Foods chain, have thrived by answering the call to reject industrialized foods in favor of a return to natural, simple, nonindustrialized—let’s call them “wholesome”—foods....When pre-fab things are good, opposition is superstition. That's not sophisticated. The better class of snobs is looking down on you.
The Pollanites seem confused about exactly what benefits their way of eating provides. All the railing about the fat, sugar, and salt engineered into industrial junk food might lead one to infer that wholesome food, having not been engineered, contains substantially less of them....
The fact is, there is simply no clear, credible evidence that any aspect of food processing or storage makes a food uniquely unhealthy.... The results of all the scrutiny of processed food are hardly scary, although some groups and writers try to make them appear that way....
In many respects, the wholesome-food movement veers awfully close to religion.
ADDED: Meade, reading this post, getting to the excerpts from the really long article, observes that they are the equivalent of fast food. My blogging is processed journalism. Blogging is pre-fab.
ALSO: Here's the actual pre-fab flooring we ended up liking — specifically, the "stained white wash." We're still comparing that to "real floors" — hardwood that is installed and then finished.