The pandemic has ushered in an era of relentless challenges, from everyday inconveniences to unimaginable pain and hardship. But not for the processed food industry. The titans of that sector are salivating over their great good fortune.
Processed foods include all sorts of treats we are not supposed to eat: Sweet things and salty things, packaged for convenience and designed for a long shelf life and maximum irresistibility. Things like grocery store cookies and cakes, canned soups and breakfast cereals and frozen waffles. And chips. Lots and lots of chips. Sales of those kinds of foods are surging.
Cooped up Americans are copping to their new bad habits. In a survey conducted in April, one in four adults admitted that they have been eating more sugary and salty treats. More people seem to be baking their own sweet indulgences. Maybe that’s not so bad since home bakers rarely add ingredients such as preservatives or unpronounceable chemicals. But suppose you bake a cake and then eat the whole thing?
Screw it. That seems to be the attitude of some of the people in my social media feeds, who are not just admitting to their indulgences, but flaunting them.
“I baked a cake,” tweeted bestselling author Roxane Gay, atop a picture fit for a foodie magazine; “It’s a lemon thyme vanilla bean ricotta cake.” Within days, it had more than 26,000 likes.
One of Gay’s bestsellers is Hunger, a brilliant book that most decidedly does not end with a newly slimmed-down author who has triumphed over her pangs. Hunger has just been sent back for a seventh printing.
Maybe the pandemic slogan is “Down with Diets!” According to Google Trends, searches for terms such as “weight loss diets” plummeted in March and April.
Should we be beating ourselves up over