Foodie Underground: It’s Up to the Rest of Us

Trashy magazines. You know the ones I’m talking about – the ones with the glossy photos of all the throw away fashion that a conscious fashion lover should certainly never invest in, and all the celebrity gossip that takes up way more brain space than you should ever give to such a vacuous topic. But they’re a guilty pleasure of mine, only purchased when traveling for business. There’s nothing like making the person sitting in the airplane seat next to you think you’re a celebrity, fashion obsessed twit.

So there I was, from Portland to Sacramento headed to the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival, an event focused on inspiring people to do better for our planet, flipping through the latest issue of In Style. Sigh. Things were going as expected. Flashy stilettos. Flip. Au naturel makeup tips. Flip. Silky blouses that need to be in your closet. Flip. Dessert night with your lady friends menu. Flip. Wait, what was on that menu? In my brainwashed magazine perusing, I had glanced over a colorful page that didn’t grab my attention until a few seconds later. I flipped back. “Sugar Rush!” the article was called, with a huge photo of snack mix made with – what is that? Cap’n Crunch?

The entire article was devoted to “desserts” made with breakfast cereals. Pardon me while I get sick. Inventive combinations are what foodies thrive for, but $5 boxed cereal crammed full of high fructose corn syrup? Is this the latest in food trends? We’ve already seen deep fried snickers bars and Krispy Kreme hamburgers, but I was hoping that with the rise in popularity of organics, antioxidants and super foods, we would be moving away from trashy, classless, so-bad-for-you-it’s-out-of-control and onto something just slightly better.

I wouldn’t have been offended if this was a fun, DIY article on silly but fun foods, but these “mouthwatering desserts” (if you can call Crunch Berry Snack Mix and Cocoa Pebble Crunch cake mouthwatering) were concocted by an acclaimed NYC pastry chef. In an era of skyrocketing obesity, heart disease and diabetes, I believe it’s the duty of the leaders of our food industry to be pointing us in the right direction.

No, not everyone needs to serve organic quinoa spring rolls with brewer’s yeast and pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top, but if the chefs and bakers that are at the top of their game in their country continue to promote foods that are rich in chemically processed ingredients, what kind of progress are we going to make?

Which is why it’s up to the rest of us.

The more we continue to promote sweet potato fries instead of Doritos, fried brussel sprouts instead of Ore-Ida tater tots and carrot beet cake instead of fried twinkies, the more food progress we’ll get to experience. Because, in case you needed a reminder, better food is better for us and our planet. And that doesn’t include Cap’n Crunch.

Editor’s note: This is the latest installment of Anna Brones’s column at EcoSalon, Foodie Underground. Each week, Anna will be taking a look at something new and different that’s taking place in the underground food movement, from supper clubs to mini markets to culinary avant garde.

Image: Minette Layne

Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a food + travel writer with a love for coffee and bikes. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Catch her weekly column, Foodie Underground.