The State of Our Food

“Farm Girl” is not the description I would give myself, but given my roots you may say there’s a bit of that in me.  

My dad grew up on a farm, corn and beans part of his life in a small Central Illinois town.  My Grandma Hunt, who is still alive and amazing at age 90 today, was known for wholesome and delicious meals and desserts throughout a good portion of Douglas County. They shared their fields and their recipes with their Amish friends and neighbors.  I would always hear stories of how a day out in the field meant a hearty dinner when you arrived back home from a hard eight to nine hours of labor.


My parents moved to “the big city” when I was about five years old and Grandma Hunt and her delicious recipes were not far away.  We didn’t eat macaroni and cheese from the box, that would have been sacrilege!  She had her own homemade recipe, my mom used it, and it wasn’t until years later that we barely were able to rip open that foil packet inside a box of Velveeta Shells & Cheese.

My mother spent most of her career as a teacher.  She took a break to stay home with us in hopes of raising good-minded and good-eating individuals.  At one point she took a part-time job with a program developed by a local hospital that helped people eat better, exercise better, and just overall treat themselves with a little bit more care.

For us, that meant the only sugary cereal we were able to eat growing up was Berry Berry Kix.

Before I could drive I think I went to fast food restaurants a total of ten times– we just didn’t do it as a family.

While this upbringing wasn’t filled with leafy green salads every day and shiny organic plums, it was pretty healthy. We were also free of the many recalls we see today.  What am I talking about?  I should say here:  “the massive amount of recalls we see today.”

And it’s so hard to keep track of these recalls too!  I mean, you can sign up for alerts through the Food and Drug Administration… but how many times do those alerts migrate to where emails go to die?  “Trash bin status” because you’ve been clicking through the boxes in your inbox to try to clean it up quickly.  Information overload.

I’m not a food expert.  I’ve done a handful of food safety stories in the last seventeen years as a journalist.  But I know this.  Because I happened to see Facebook’s “trending topics” this morning and the Kraft Cheese recall happened to be at the bottom of the list, I know I need to go home and probably get rid of the singles slices I purchased in the last few weeks. I really don’t feel like having the boys eat plastic.  That’s the risk I would run in continuing to use the problem cheese with a specific code and date on it, according to the company’s news release.



Are there just so many of us and production is so crazy that these kind of things happen more often now?

I had a relative terribly sickened by dangerous bacteria in lettuce several years ago.  Thank God she survived– but she will be the first to tell you, while she looks good to the world– her health will never be the same.

So my question is this:  What is happening with our food?  What is your family doing about it?  How are you treating it and respecting it at your house?  Or is there not enough time for your family right now to really address the issue?

That was more than one question, but you know where I was heading 🙂

Leave your comments below and we’ll talk about it.