Yesterday’s WaPo Food Section contained the obligatory “food forecast” for 2006, supplemented by the obligatory opinions of Faith Popcorn, trend recognizer extraordinaire. Along with interesting information such as the fact that the use of trans fats is decreasing, while the popularity of “small plates” continues to grow in area restaurants, the article contained this disturbing nugget:
Trend expert Faith Popcorn, keynote speaker at the Future of Food conference last month in Washington, and the person who predicted the “cocooning” craze of the 1990s, sees faith-friendly food showing up in the marketplace, an outgrowth of what her company calls “clanning,” or the desire to belong to groups with common ideas.
Tyson Foods, which makes chicken, beef and pork products, already has begun offering free downloadable prayer booklets on its Web site. The booklets provide mealtime prayers in a variety of faiths. The article notes that “food forecasters are predicting some provocative trends, including such possibilities as Christian-raised chicken . . . .”
Now, I’m a person of faith and one of the things I try to do every time I eat is to offer some gratitude for my meal. I do it quietly; no one eating with me even knows I’m doing it. But I can tell you that I sure as heck don’t download my prayers from the Tyson Food website, nor can I imagine anyone doing so. But, I checked and, sure enough, Tyson’s is now apparently selling prayers along with processed chicken parts. Most of the prayers are xian or at least Abrahamic, although a few appear to be Native American and a few appear to be based on some kind of generalized religious sentiment. Strangely, given the role women play in purchasing and preparing food, none of them speak of divinity as feminine, although a number refer to a masculine god. I’m sure Tyson Foods thinks they’ve been very “inclusive,” but they’ve failed. But that’s not the real problem.
The real problem is that it’s creepy. WTF is “faith-friendly” food, Ms. Popcorn? It’s apparently not kosher food, which, based upon my very limited understanding, at least requires humane methods of slaughter. It’s apparently not organic food, which, again based upon my very limited understanding, at least evidences some respect for the Earth. No, what it apparently is, is food produced by big corporations who try to dress up their processed food and agribusinesses with advertising that appeals to wack-job fundies. Forget it. I’ll take the small plates, the dark chocolate, and the larger print on the nutrition labels. But I’m not downloading my prayers from the Tyson Food webpage and I’m not buying any xian-raised chicken, either.
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