Maybe it took seeing this film about our “highly mechanized” food industry to change my perspective; they’re right…I haven’t been looking at food the same way for the last three weeks.
Today a coworker invited me to Golden Corral after work. A thought that before was only halfway “thunk” became a little more solid as we pulled into the parking lot. A corral is an enclosure for horses or cattle, I thought; and the building reminded me a little of a little white house you might find on a ranch. That could just be my imagination. We were herded in line towards the register after which with High Fructose Corn Syrup laced beverages in hand we were let loose to roam the food bars. Right up front and centrally located was the grill where “fresh” cuts of meat were available. On the sides of this main meat bar were a few vegetables but mostly carb-y side dishes. To the right, the dessert bar and over to the left the fresh soups and “southern” side dishes (black eyed peas, sweet potato casserole, fried okra). Waaayyy down to the far left where the buffalo roamed and dusty tumbleweeds bounced across the floor, the fresh produce and salad bar. There were only a few folks there. Most of us were placing beer battered fish filets, popcorn shrimp and well buttered biscuits on our plates while eyeing the pecan pie that hadn’t been cut into yet. This is when I recalled the scenes of cattle being fed unhealthy but cheap corn based diets (cattle don’t naturally eat corn–we force/train them to eat it) to fatten them up. Looking around I see that most of the patrons here are noticeably overweight. And as I watch them pass by with full plates my stomach turns as I realize that we are the cattle.