Thursday, August 18, 2011

Edible Secrets: a food tour of classified US history

Edible Secrets: a Food Tour of Classified US History
Michael Hoerger & Mia Partlow
222 s. Rogers St.
Bloomington, IN 47404-4936

All governments are corrupt on a certain level. The larger the government, the more the corruption. That’s an inescapable fact of life. It is inherent to human nature that whenever a group of us gain a certain amount of influence and power, the group will often do very bad things to maintain it, Group being the defining factor. This is true whether it’s a hippie commune in Oregon or the former Soviet Union. And depending on your perspective, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’ve grown up in the US and have benefited greatly because of some of the very ruthless behaviors of my government at the federal level, the state level, and even at the city council level. So have you. That’s not to say that I’m okay with all of the nasty stuff that governments do behind the scenes to maintain power, but it is true. It then becomes important for us, as citizens and beneficiaries of this stuff to become aware of and educated about these behaviors. If nobody is telling them to stop, they won’t. As we are gearing up for a presidential election, we get to hear all kinds of fun campaign speeches and rhetoric from people who would like to take the helm for a while. Funny how they never talk about their policies on maintaining support for sadistic third-world dictators and murderous union-busting corporate thugs in Columbia and other places. They do, however, talk a lot about job creation, which often needs those shadowy figures in the background to work effectively. Cheap resources aren’t cheap for everyone.

What we have here is a book about corruption, espionage, and the maintenance of power as it pertains to food. The authors have been wading through piles (on-line files?) of de-classified government documents and have found some strange stuff indeed (poisoned chocolate milkshakes for Fidel…). It is a fascinating look into the world of threat suppression, and how it has sometimes related to various foods, or food-producing corporations. The book has a great layout with copies of the actual documents, pictures, fun facts, great illustrations by Nate Powell, and even “Defenders of Capitalism Finger Puppets” for the kids. Wow.