Sunday, June 13, 2010

Why does food today taste different than that in the old days?

I have often pondered this question. Food and many dishes did taste different years ago. There are many reasons for this, first off refrigeration, Pasteurization, low fat, high sugar, additives, and cooking styles. One of the great crimes committed against us historically in the taste of foods, is what we put into it now.

I always laugh when I look at an old recipe in a new cooking book. It states right off we have replaced some ingredients with a more healthy option. Right there we have destroyed the taste of what once was.

It is like taking an old car and saying we have replaced its motor and replaced it with a new fuel efficient one that makes it run better..Then I do not know what that original car was like? That is historic robbery. I want to feel how it was, sense how it was, experience how it was.
Driving in a 2010 car gives me no idea of what driving a Model T Ford was like. I have driven a Model T Ford, so believe me it is nothing like a new car.

In that thought too, in the age before Pasteurization foods tasted different. Fats added flavor, cooking long had its joys too. Now everything is so slimmed down so we think and we are healthier, are we?

The use of Lard is wonderful, it adds so much flavor to foods. I look through cook books today and no one uses it for historic dishes...Why not? I am not advocating using lard every day, but I am willing to say is healthier than a good deal of the over processed junk we eat today is. The foods of the past will never taste as they did as we have a mania to not use the ingredients that were used in the past. So if you wish to experience the taste of the past, ask the preparer to use the ingredients that were used then. You find a pleasant surprise, it tastes better than its redesigned modern equivalent.

There are many restaurants that cater to the tastes of the past, and I have not seen any of them that use all original ingredients. So we are fooling ourselves as to what the past tasted like. Bacon fat, lard, butter, and much more were used as part of the meal. It is nothing like low fat oils. Lard will make a meal, and you will once again be surprised at how good it tastes.
That is what the past tasted like. Sadly we do not eat today, cause it is not looked at as healthy. Yet we as millions go into many dreadful fast food joints and think nothing of it. Am I missing something?

To close I am reminded of an encounter between Walter Lord and Rene Harris in the last years of her life. She was a major producer on Broadway and a survivor of the Titanic. Lord was working on a book on the disaster. She was living at this time in a small room and her days of glory were long over.
He decided to bring a tin of Caviar for her. She took one taste as said "You call that Caviar?" He wrote in his notes that probably Caviar tasted different before pasteurization, and that the Caviar of 1912 was a very different dish than what we know today.