Food Is Not Food
I have always eaten well (discounting a few Army meals and, even those, I was happy to have had at the time).
My father liked to eat and liked to cook (don't think Jamie Oliver, rather picture someone getting in the way making gravy on Sunday). He worked at a school, and food must have been part of his remuneration. I recall large cuts of meat, crates of produce, and dairy cans of milk (which my brother and I managed to polish off quickly). We also drove to farms to buy fresh produce in the summer and fall, picked blueberries in the woods, and caught fish. I was fortunate to attend schools that offered good-quality food to boarding students. Once I started traveling the world, I discovered street markets and enjoyed inspecting food displays. I still do, perhaps because they are less static than museums.
I did not give much thought to food sources, until I married someone that has cooking as a hobby and read Fast Food Nation. We are somewhat leery of food served by restaurants and question our butcher about how well he knows the farmer that raises the meat. Our green grocer knows that he will not make a sale unless he can answer questions on origin.
Hospital captivity has caused me to consider this subject. Food advisors explain diet choices; intricate menu plans promise delight and suggest considerable effort. Everyone tries hard and means well, but food is not food. When meals arrive, one is thankful (after all, one cannot have a pizza smuggled in or sneak out for MacDonalds). Nothing tastes bad, but I do wonder about sources and preparation. Much is packaged, which indicates industrial processes. (In case you did not notice, the MacDonalds bit was irony!).
Nb. In light of suffering in Japan, I regret to even raise this topic. Few deserve such a fate and certainly not the Japanese people. I have had "issues" with certain individuals over the years, as with any nationality, but have found Japan to be a nation of friendly, disciplined, diligent, and decent people.
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Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.