Making Supper Safe By Ben Hewitt

If you are even half-serious about mountain biking, you are most likely already aware of the importance of food, it’s role in providing fuel for the body… hell you may even be somewhere along the continuum of your relationship with food where nutrition is the driver and not taste (i.e. you’ll be cooking your own food and not living on a diet of gummy bears and microwave pizza… actually that’s a bad comparison, as neither of those ‘food’ items have any real taste from my memory, perhaps I'll go with peanut brittle and KFC deep fried chicken, both of which are tasty and accepted as being without a lot of great nutritional value).

With that in mind I’ll be adding articles that have some focus upon nutrition, health and well-being aimed at mountain bikers. My thoughts right now are to include topics and break them down a bit, for example in considering food and nutrition, it could be research, advice, recipes and reviews of books etc.

So to start...

Book review of, Making Super Safe, by Ben Hewitt.

How much thought have you given into the origin of the food you had for you last meal? Do you know where it all came from? If it was a salad from you’re own garden, then I’m sure you’d be able to say when it was picked, how it was prepared and hopefully what was used to make it grow, for example, did you use any herbicides or pesticides to manage your garden?

If it was not a hand-picked and prepared home-grown salad, what do you know about it? How were the ingredients sourced, handled and the used to prepare the food… where was it made?

These are the kind of questions that Ben Hewitt raises in the book… it’s about understand where food comes from and how safe is it?

Of course with Ben being a resident of Vermont, it’s a very US centric book, as it discusses the roles of their government agencies, the well known ability in the to sue and counter-sue individuals and corporations and the growth of corporate farmers, so if you are not a US resident some of it may not apply… but there’s a clear warning about living your life unaware of where your food comes from and making assumptions about who is keeping it safe and safe for whom?

The rapid of corporate food producers of the last century raises questions for the author, an example is, Kraft Foods, who started business in 1903 and for their first year of operation the company posted a loss of $3,000 and a horse(!) as of 2011 they sell $42 billion worth of food around the world. Now they are so large they are able to impose their rules upon federal government departments, specifying how they audit and report on their own food safety. For no longer can a prosecutor for a federal department demand a corporate to recall a tainted product at the first sign, it’s a complex chain of proof and denial and lots of lawyers on all sides.

As an aside Ben also makes a foray into investigating food waste in the US, when he recalls night time adventures with friends ‘dumpster diving’ for quality food discarded by businesses… he’s not talking some unsold hamburgers at the end of the night from a burger bar, his story ends in a score of fine wine, high-priced cheese and fresh venison.

Making Supper Safe is an entertaining read with some sobering thoughts. There are some sections I don’t agree with, such as the spectre raised of raw milk consumption, overall though I think Ben has found the balance of a good story with facts to make the reader think.

My take out from the book is simple, we all need to be responsible for knowing the origin of the food we eat and make a concerned effort to ensure it’s a transparent process, that at any time you can visit any part of the food chain, be it farm or commercial food preparation and understand where it all came from and be confident that nothing is hidden from you.

For example, tonight our family meal consisted of a quiche that contained herbs from our garden, eggs laid by our chickens, crème fraîche we made from raw milk, (that we purchased from a farm we buy from every week), feta from a goat my wife milked, that both of us made into the cheese… how’s that for an example of understanding where food comes from?

Source: blurred

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