Convenience enables us to save the time that is as valuable to us as money. Thanks to the web, no one need even rise from his or chair to accomplish the grocery shopping. College-educated chefs and dieticians protect us from hot kitchens and scorched fingers by preparing sumptuous and nourishing restaurant and packaged meals. Should we wish to dabble in cooking, we can purchase pancake mix, instant hot cereal, dry macaroni, or powered cocoa. Of course, they can’t eclipse the now dated wonders of food preservation.
Refrigerators, canned soup, frozen vegetables, and bottled beverages have freed us from long, hot days in the field and the kitchen. Even these astounding achievements have been superseded by modern chemistry. They enable us to store meats such as hot dogs and sliced ham, condiments such as mustard and pickles, and baked goods from buns to pumpernickel bread to apple pie. No one has to shop every day, bake every week, or live without his or her favorite foods. There’s time for children, spouses, social service, education, business strategy, urban planning, construction, technology, baseball, television, and social media.
While food preservatives improve the quality of life, do they reduce the quantity of life? According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, most food additives, that is, preservatives and colors are safe. Still, consumption of common food additives such as sulfites which are found in dried fruit and potatoes has been fatal to some people. Sodium nitrates and nitrates preserve the hot dogs, bacon, and cold cuts beloved by many Americans, but they have been associated with cancer. It’s necessary, then, to choose processed foods wisely. Today, reading labels is likely a legacy of grandmother and grandfather. That’s a tradition worthy of preservation.
© Laura Rizzardini, Inc., 2011