I remember smiling indulgently, if a little condescendingly, at the old guys who used to say that if you lived long enough you’d see everything come around again. How could that be possible, I thought, with all the technological change we’ve seen in the past 150 years or so?
Well, is it possible to smile condescendingly at yourself? I don’t think I’m all that old, but things sure do have a cyclical feel lately.
In my childhood, almost everyone grew at least some of his own food. Even if you didn’t have any space for a garden, you would grow a few tomatoes in buckets.
Then we decided we were too busy, and started buying our food at the supermarket. Technology, along with cheap transportation, saved us from fresh food.
Now, we’re all trying to grow at least some of the food we eat, even if it’s just a few tomatoes in buckets.
Only now, we buy growing kits that cost a lot more than those buckets used to.
Technology is again saving us, this time from that supermarket food that once saved us… well, you get the idea.
When I was a kid, science was busily trying to wean us from all that dangerous food that was killing us—kryptonite, I came to call it.
Eggs? Kryptonite. You can’t eat ’em if you want to live past 50. Well, maybe one or two a week, but you’re pressing your luck.
Butter? Double kryptonite. That stuff’ll kill you. Use margarine instead or your arteries will plug up like rusty iron pipes. Or you can use any vegetable oil—except coconut, the only vegetable-derived kryptonite.
Alcohol? Liquid kryptonite.
Then along came the Food Network, backed up here and there by selected medical research.
Eggs? Dr. Oz says eat ’em and don’t worry.
Bacon? Dr. Atkins says eat all you want. Just stay away from those nasty vegetables and fruits, and you’ll lose weight and live forever.
Butter? Ditto. Paula Dean is now a national hero.
Margarine? Don’t you know about trans fats? Use butter, or your arteries will plug up like – is this sounding familiar?
Alcohol? Drink that red wine. Everyday. Did you ever see a sick Italian or Frenchman?
I must be getting really old, because some of these things are cycling through again. The latest research suggests that bacon may really be killing us after all. We had put nitrates and nitrites out of our minds, but not out of our bacon.
I don’t expect to last long enough to hear that bacon has become the latest health food, but at least I can eat my scrambled eggs, cooked in olive oil—or is it coconut oil this month?—with a clear conscience.