I clearly remember early Saturday mornings, sitting in my living room, coon skin cap pulled on tight, eyes glued to the TV, watching as Clint Eastwood whipped out his six shooter, shot the bad guy in the chest and walked away into the distance, the noonday sun hanging high above the imaginary western town. Like many young American boys I wanted to grow up to be a rough and tough gun slinging outlaw, hunting for my food and living off the land. Though I no longer build Tepees in my backyard (that ended well over 6 months ago) I still have that nostalgic feeling for the wild frontier, those Davy Crocket inspired dreams of grandeur that encourages even the most civilized sort of woman or man to escape into the woods, build a roaring fire and gnaw on a hunk of jerky.
As I take a hard look myself and ask the question why I idealize colonial American life, an idea in itself interesting seeing as how my ancestors came from Russia in the early 20th century, I can't help but feel a sense of community and shared past that I hadn't really acknowledged before; I too have been roped in by the allure of American culture, a culture that extends beyond divisions of Democrat or Republican and influences our appreciation for antique furniture, farm fresh eggs and country fairs.
In the process of branding myself as "Made in the USA", I feel the need to take a closer look at how our perception of an idealized past influences our eating preferences. Often times we tend to idealize simplistic and traditional systems of living that are deemed "healthier" and more "holistic", and yet many of us don't truly understand the realities of those traditional cultures. It seems to me that we need to stop and investigate what perceptions of these societies are accurate in understanding how to eat better. Life on the farm might have been healthier in some ways but I think we can all agree that imagination inspired breakfasts of bacon, eggs and heaping stacks of pancakes may not be the best option for our bodies nor the true realities of the past.