Sunday, August 20, 2017

BOOK: The Dorito Effect by Mark Schatzker

The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavour by Mark Schatzker, (8 h 17 min)

This was a great discovery from YA Sync! A non-fiction book about food by a Canadian. Last year there was a Michael Pollen food book but I argued to it all the way through. This book on the other hand had me nodding and agreeing all the way through.

Maybe that isn't the best way to read non-fictions, the echo-chamber and all, but this was more teaching me ideas about things I had an inkling about but didn't know exactly why.

The main theme here was about flavours and how we, society, have found a way to create flavours that taste like what they are supposed to but in the process, have lost the nutrition that should be present in foods. And when the nutrition isn't there, we don't get fulfilled and eat too much.

See, I've never been a huge fan of Doritos. I find the flavour way too intense and they are one of the few chips I can resist. I'm not claiming to be a good eater, but I prefer plain chips which would have no flavourings added. Interesting. I also prefer homemade salad dressings to bought Kraft dressings, especially Caesar salad dressing. It makes sense to me now.

The discovery of how to make an imitation vanilla started because real vanilla became extremely expensive and hard to make. There is talk of gas chromatography, mass spectrometers, and other flashbacks to my Chemistry degree from University in determining the particular notes or chemicals present in the original flavour that need to be replicated. Very cool.

Some of the other examples of how we have modified foods for economic gain are chickens and tomatoes. We see now the local food movement and the rise of heritage chickens and heritage tomatoes. Chickens and tomatoes have been adjusted to reach maturity quicker and to produce larger products. So big, watery, flavourless tomatoes that are easy to transport is what we get at the grocery store. Chickens that need to have tons of spices and extras added so they are edible. Also, they are less nutritious.

The availability of strawberries year round has changed how we eat them. We can get strawberries in PEI in December now when years ago, they were only available in July. But oh! the strawberries we get in July are so many magnitudes better. They are varieties that don't travel well, are small and knobby, but just explode in your mouth.

There were many other chapters and ideas presented in here and I can't go in to all of it. (Studying animals and relating to how they eat nutritiously) This was just one of those books that made connections to things I've noticed and was able to relate with and I really enjoyed it. The best of the YA Sync this summer!