Is ignorance bliss when it comes to eating?

To mark National Fettuccine Alfredo Day (Feb. 7), I made my first batch ever of homemade Fettuccine Alfredo, using a recipe from Devour Dinner that called for two cups of whipping cream.  Definitely not a low-calorie dinner.

It was really tasty though and reminded me that this dish was my go-to order at Italian restaurants way back when I was oblivious about details like calories and ingredients.  Back in the days before the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act was passed that required all packaged food to have nutrition labels. That act was passed in the last century, waaay back in 1990.

It seems almost unbelievable now that there was a time when you would just walk through the aisles of a grocery story and throw things in a cart without checking for the number of fat calories,  or the presence of partially hydrogenated oil or high fructose corn syrup. Sometimes I miss the innocence of thinking that carrot cake was a healthy dessert choice.

It’s ironic that although the law requires companies to list this information, there is still some pretty gnarly ingredients that get included in food. (Hello, carmine/cochineal/carminic acid, aka red bug dye.  What are you doing in those cute little gummy bears, gelatin (usually made from animal skin, cartilage, and bones)?

Wow, this post sure went south quickly. It started with a plate of creamy, delicious cheesiness and then all of a sudden we’re talking pork skin.

Was ignorance bliss when it came to what we were eating back before 1990? Although being uninformed might have made eating less stressful, I’ll vote for the idea that it’s important to know what we’re putting into our bodies. And although we might splurge a little here and there (like with tonight’s dinner) when it comes to fat and calories, I think I’ll stay away from pork skin and red bug dye.

I likely won’t make this dish again, as it’s so much heavier than the type of food we typically eat, but I’m glad I was able to make it from scratch to learn the process. The older boys had a youth group event tonight that included a spaghetti dinner so one didn’t even try it after he got home and the other one sampled it and liked it, but could probably live without it. The youngest one tried a couple cheese-filled noodles and made a face.

The rest of the national food holidays coming up this week will probably be more popular. They are Molasses Bar Day, Pizza Day on the same day as Bagel Day, and Creamcheese Brownie Day. It’s a good thing that it’s also National Children’s Dental Health Month (sponsored by  the American Dental Association and Crest + Oral B).  This year’s campaign slogan is “Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and clean between your teeth for a healthy smile.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *