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antmanb
07-19-2012, 02:17 PM
Well microwave popcorn is a processed food. But you can make regular popcorn yourself and it's actually reasonably healthy as you note. Heck, even the microwave stuff is healthier than a lot of other choices people make instead because they are convinced popcorn is evil. :P

All popcorn is evil :P every time i eat it a piece flies to the back of my throat and gets stuck and makes me feel like i'm choking to death :scream:

CantALoop
07-20-2012, 12:11 AM
That's interesting, because I've generally seen Polynesians, especially Native Hawaiians and Samoans, blaming their obesity issues on whitey's introduction of processed food, especially Spam, to their shores.

Pretty jealous, however, that Hawaiians can still buy fried pies at McDonald's. The baked ones on the mainland are so lame.

It's more complicated than that. At a local conference about the metabolic syndrome in the Pacific, there were many reasons and hypotheses given about why obesity and related disorders disproportionately affect Polynesians and low-income neighborhoods in the islands.

One of the most convincing arguments was that healthy food is prohibitively expensive and unhealthy food (especially fried food) is much cheaper and readily available to low-income people.

The high price of eating healthy is compounded by the fact that most of our fresh produce is imported/shipped in from the mainland or Australia/New Zealand. Local produce is rarely offered at most grocery stores because local farmers usually don't yield enough produce consistently or at a price that markets would want to give them shelf space. Even when local produce is offered at farmers' markets, they're prohibitively expensive ($4 for a pound of bananas? no thanks)

As for Spam, its popularity has a lot to do with the lengthy and large military presence in the islands. That military presence is also why it's popular in Okinawa, Guam and other areas that have a large US military presence. Spam was in abundant supply on military bases and eventually found its way into the local populace, who eventually developed a taste for it because itís cheaper and more abundant than fresh red meat. Itís difficult to remove from our local food culture because itís so ingrained into it, and a lot of people (including myself) were raised on it with little thought given to its nutritional content.

That brings me back to the point of most of our food being imported - processed food is easier to ship and keeps for longer, so it's going to be less expensive and turn more of a profit. There's more incentive for businesses to offer processed foods rather than absorb the costs it would take to use local produce or offer perishable healthy items.

As for ramen and fried pies - yes, they still offer ramen/saimin with a slice of spam and fish cake. As for the apple/fruit pies it's not only that they're fried, once in a while McDonalds offers other flavors such as taro, banana, and haupia (coconut). :P

heckles
07-20-2012, 12:52 AM
As for the apple/fruit pies it's not only that they're fried, once in a while McDonalds offers other flavors such as taro, banana, and haupia (coconut). :P

Yeah, they have blueberry sometimes as well. Any state that has gay unions and fried pies knows how to live.

Japanfan
07-20-2012, 06:12 AM
One of the most convincing arguments was that healthy food is prohibitively expensive and unhealthy food (especially fried food) is much cheaper and readily available to low-income people.

The high price of eating healthy is compounded by the fact that most of our fresh produce is imported/shipped in from the mainland or Australia/New Zealand. Local produce is rarely offered at most grocery stores because local farmers usually don't yield enough produce consistently or at a price that markets would want to give them shelf space. Even when local produce is offered at farmers' markets, they're prohibitively expensive ($4 for a pound of bananas? no thanks)


Where do you live, CantAloop?

I'm finding it a bit difficult to comprehend a lack of fresh food on Polynesian islands, especially remembering the Philippines, where poor people in the countryside had mangoes and papayas and bananas literally growing in their back yards. And many caught their own fresh food everyday.

There were plenty of vegetables, too. It seemed that poor Philippinos lived on white rice, but at food stalls the rice would often be served with some sort of green vegetable. Seemed that the poor could afford that, at least.


As for Spam, its popularity has a lot to do with the lengthy and large military presence in the islands. That military presence is also why it's popular in Okinawa, Guam and other areas that have a large US military presence. Spam was in abundant supply on military bases and eventually found its way into the local populace, who eventually developed a taste for it because itís cheaper and more abundant than fresh red meat. Itís difficult to remove from our local food culture because itís so ingrained into it, and a lot of people (including myself) were raised on it with little thought given to its nutritional content.


For sure it is an acquired taste, kind of like gefilte fish. There is an annual spam food festival somewhere in the US, I've seen it on Food Network. They do all sorts of unusual/interesting things with Spam.

CantALoop
07-20-2012, 09:15 AM
Where do you live, CantAloop?

I'm finding it a bit difficult to comprehend a lack of fresh food on Polynesian islands.

I live in Honolulu and grew up on the west side of O'ahu. The local population as a whole has long moved on from plantation days and being an agrarian society. Although people protest the tourism industry, it remains the lifeblood of the current economy and lifestyle of the islands and is much more profitable than agriculture ever was.

I'm no real estate agent, but I'd imagine it'd be prohibitively expensive for low to middle income individuals to buy a big enough parcel of land to farm sustainably. Catching fresh food from the sea on a consistent basis is almost impossible due to overfishing.

In fact, one of the big debates going on right now is the plans to turn some of the best farmlands on the islands into a housing development (http://www.civilbeat.com/articles/2012/06/08/16029-state-approves-hoopili-court-challenge-expected/).

Speaking of growing up near the poorest neighborhoods on the island, one doctor recalled how she went down to one of those neighborhoods and saw lunch wagons parked outside the elementary school. The "special" was a plate of fried noodles topped with french fries and mayonnaise - all for $1.50, and kids and parents alike were both lining up for it. The kicker? One of the parents approached the doctor and pleaded with her "I know you're not from this side of the island, but please don't take away our food trucks."

It's much easier for a low income parent to buy cheap food like that for their family than to give up their job and spend the time and labor into farming land that may not yield enough food.

heckles
07-20-2012, 12:18 PM
Speaking of growing up near the poorest neighborhoods on the island, one doctor recalled how she went down to one of those neighborhoods and saw lunch wagons parked outside the elementary school. The "special" was a plate of fried noodles topped with french fries and mayonnaise - all for $1.50, and kids and parents alike were both lining up for it.

Yeppers, the typical Hawaiian "plate lunch" from a food truck includes a side of two big scoops of white rice and a big scoop of macaroni salad with lots of mayo, all in addition to the main course.

MacMadame
07-21-2012, 06:01 AM
Yeppers, the typical Hawaiian "plate lunch" from a food truck includes a side of two big scoops of white rice and a big scoop of macaroni salad with lots of mayo, all in addition to the main course.

And often the whole thing is covered in gravy!

Southpaw
07-21-2012, 06:01 AM
Golly, where IS this Hawaiian paradise???

:lickschops:

MacMadame
07-21-2012, 03:30 PM
We have restaurants in CA that serve Hawaiian BBQ. It's very similar to what I remember on the islands when I lived there.

Anita18
07-22-2012, 07:05 AM
We have restaurants in CA that serve Hawaiian BBQ. It's very similar to what I remember on the islands when I lived there.
L&L!