Children of the Corn

It’s a familiar legend – whether it’s the Golem or Dr. Frankenstein’s monster (the latter perhaps inspired by tales of the former) – what we arrogantly create comes back to haunt us. America’s monster might turn out to be one that we encounter in its most powerful form each Halloween: corn. Not the sweet, buttery kind that we get from our CSA in July. The kind that industrial-strength petro-chemicals and lobbyist-induced grain subsidies have produced in quantities unfathomable even fifty years ago. As Michael Pollan noted in Omnivore’s dilemma, which so eloquently sounded the clarion call for the dangers of corn, much of this crop has been turned into food additives that are so commonplace that if we’re eating any type of processed food, chances are we’re eating corn, even if we don’t even know it!

Invasion of the body snatchers

The most (in)famous corn-based food additive is high fructose corn syrup. A prime culprit in our country’s current obesity epidemic, hfc is a cheap, plentiful, exponentially-sweeter alternative to cane sugar, and it’s taken over everything from chips to drinks to, of course, almost all Halloween candy. In a plot-twist that would make any b-movie writer proud, candy corn is made almost entirely from….CORN!!! In the form of high fructose corn syrup.

For those of us Jews who grew up trick-or-treating, and/or feel Halloween is far enough removed from its pagan roots to allow our kids to fully participate in this odd American rite, how do we deal with this attack of the killer corn?

I don’t have the answer, but I hope we can figure it out soon. My oldest child is almost three, and he hasn’t really seen many candy bars yet, so for now he still believes that the brightly-wrapped items he’s collecting in his pumpkin are simply “trick or treats.” But sooner or later we’re going to have to figure out a way to wrestle with a part of the American diet that’s even scarier than this: .

In the mean time, here’s a few other spooky food concoctions that are appropriate for this season (and btw, I tried making the aforemention Koolaid pickles, aka Koolickles recently, and they were truly horrid):

-If you can’t beat ‘em, make vegan, hfc-free candy corn!

-Instead of mulled cider, how about whipping up a batch of Kombucha tea, a sweet-sour fermented drink made with a mushroomy-starter called a “mother” (very Norman Bates).

-Here’s an great article about molecular gastronomy, practiced by chefs whose kitchens resemble the lab of Dr. F.

-Not food related, but check out this movie that’s in the spirit of the season…

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One Response to “Children of the Corn”

  1. Jonnie Olliff Says:

    Great blog. I have been wearing glasses for more than 10 years and have just recently discovered the dr. Bates program for eyesight improvement. The results are great!

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