Impact of the Technological Advancements of Preserving Food

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Impact of the Technological Advancements of Preserving Food


The consequences of the technological advancements of preserving food in the early days of America are quite profound. In the scope of just 100 years, agricultural business went from being locally owned and operated where goods were produced and sold within the parameters of small towns, to an intricate network of business that spanned the entire continent. Most rural dwellers at the time were self sufficient forn the food that their land provided. This greatly affected the diets, outlook, and consumption patterns of individuals. With an expanded array of foods to choose from, Americans could have a more fine tailored diet according to their nutritional wants and needs. Abundance was the key term, and when there is abundance, there is bound to be creative forces working with it. Now that more food was available to the average person, cooking shifted from being a remedial chore of survival into an art, or hobby. In the late 1800's cookbooks became increasingly popular amongst housewives and cooks, which had an impact on what the family ate on a day-to-day basis. Gone were the times of eating bread, salt pork, and corn pone day in and day out, and in came meals tailored to creative tastes. Things like Texas raised roast beef cooked with apples from Washington and sugar from the West Indies was becoming more of a comman and appealing thing.

Growing food markets also led to the decline of locally owned and operated farms. Families abandoned their backyard gardening in lieu of the quick and efficient market system. Local farms could no compete with the big-scale farmers outside of the city, who at this time began to seed the future for monoculture food where a plot of land is used primarily for growing one particular crop. With a declining number of people actually working the land, our internal biorhythm clock has been altered and re-adapted to the market economy. Instead of a crop being harvested a certain time of the year, people focused on the time in which the meat man or egg man was going to be in town.

With refrigeration also came an increased knowledge in the field of food nutrition. People were becoming more conscious with what they put into their body and the farmers were there to supply. Studies by the American Food Administration began to come out more and more, informing citizens of the nutritional value of foods that influenced their buying.

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Later down the road, the food pyramid was devised, creating a structure in which citizens could follow to ensure a healthy diet. America was on the road to healthy eating, or so it thought. The present day proves quite differently. With the increased technology in agricultural production and division of labor in processing, today's food is far from anything natural and wholesome.

We live in an economy now where we have almost completely lost the food-land connection. With greater convenience showering us every day, a compromise takes the place. When we go to Burger King or Taco Bell, we are giving up nutrition and knowledge of origins for a quick, cheap, easy, and convenient meal, just as the people in the 1800's lost farming knowledge when they could buy produce chilled from a vendor. All these consequences, both positive and negative, have led us to the current state, which we are in now.


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