Hello there. And Welcome to another mid-week edition of my mind's inner workings! The current loop playing on my mind circles around Iowa caucus, Bernie Sanders's social media campaign success, and Inequality.
Last evening, I attended an insightful dinner about the economic importance of Stunting. I can't stop thinking about it and what it reflects on us as a species and as a society. To give you a short brief into it, stunting refers to physical and cognitive impairment sustained from mal-nutrition in children from womb to 3 years old.
It is widespread across the world in any place where there is lack or inequitable sharing of resources. It is not restricted to poor families, nor third world countries. Yes, it is awful but not solvable really. Too many factors lead to it, from real lack of access to food to cultural biases and traditions to simply unpremeditate additives in everyday life like using leaded gasoline. Who knew?
Anyway, the thing that sticks to me is that once the problem was recognized, all efforts for resolution apparently focuses on the prevention rather than any treatment. It has been assumed that the cognitive defects of such malnutrition is irreversible and therefore those affected are lost causes in the view of those looking into such issues at a policy and development initiative level.
I find that fascinating on two levels - One, I question the amazing ability of policy influencers to tunnel into singular approach that has a definite non-100% success possibility. I mean, you can mitigate but simply cannot prevent it in entirely because many things are beyond policy control.
Two, why not try a two pronged approach - Prevent and Treat? Why assume that the causality cannot be reversed by effective post-exposure diet? Food, afterall, has been shown to play both problem and solution!
Neither is going to yield perfect solutions but the fear of not achieving perfection seems to in itself deny the probability of a higher success! Odd! How we humans think.
One the other hand, I suspect society does not really care about those who are already impacted because,
it is too expensive economically and emotionally to treat rather than prevent...
Which made me think more about the next President of United States. Who will it be? And, will we really like what he/she stands for?
I don't know. Here is what I do know. The candidates this year have some great consumer insights analysts on their team. That is a mouthful but what these people are really good at is understanding their audience, voters here, and being able to relate to them with the right messaging on the right medium. Yes, they are very good marketers in short.
Much as I am amused by Trump's reign on the polls that seemingly defies logic, it is after all due a clever play of the human emotions and psychology. Trump resonates with a large demographic of those -
- Who are just pissed off with the "System" and its dysfunctionality and so, simply see his non-condormity as refreshing without dwelling on the non-substance of his candidature
- Who actually kind of think, even momentarily, what he blurts out on a routine basis deep inside their heads but can never say it. So, they share similar biases.
But, he is not really that interesting to me.
Bernie Sanders is. A man you can mistake to be one-trick pony - Income Inequality. He says the same thing every time but in doing so, has really driven home the point in a bi-partisan way. Republicans abhor the term wealth inequality because it means higher taxes which is against their core values. On the other side, looking at adjusting incomes does not come off as socialistic nor anti-capitalistic. It is actually a very good way at looking at bridging the gap between the rich and the poor - equitable distribution of earnings. Now doesn't that sound a lot better?
Now add to that some cool social media campaign manager that they have on their team. That person is making Bernie the darling of the youth vote. He is killing it with 42% of the social pie amongst the candidate across party lines!
Now that's creative media marketing! I would love to learn some tricks from his campaign media management team there
Well what does all of this have to do with the recipe of the moment? Not a whole lot, except possibly everything. New nutritional research and latest President (therefore USDA reach) are all major variables in how the food system shapes up in the coming years. Have you read the WHO report? They make it sound like everything we ingest causes cancer. But, the highlighted point is consumption of a lot of processed meat is the significant concern in cancer occurrences.
So our next President hopefully is not pro big-Ag or big CPG because that's where all the trouble is. None on the Republican side are likely to go against the lobbies and the Dems don't seem to hold much hope either. But, perhaps, we need to take a page from Mr. Sanders and keep harping the one note of Food Sustainability and if we can find a way to link that to income inequality.... I mean, the possibilities are endless!!! ;-)
Meanwhile, I will leave you a markedly non-singular noted Speck Stuffed Scones for your thoughtful mulling!
What do you think the odds of the next President's first executive action being pro-eater?
Stuffed Speck Scones
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
6 T butter
3 T cold milk
salt and pepper for flavor
For the filling:
3 T tomato paste
1/4 lb speck chopped
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Sift together the flour and soda. Cut in the butter into the mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
Make a well in the center and crack the egg into it. Add the milk to it.
Using a fork whisk the fluids together and start incorporating the flour from the sides.
Knead gently with your hand just enough to make a dough ball. Rest in fridge for 15 minutes.
Generously dust the surface with flour and roll the dough to 1/2 inch thickness into an approximate rectangular shape.
Spread the tomato paste all the way to the edge. Sprinkle the speck all over on one half of the dough.
Fold the other half of the dough over and cut into 2 inch squares. Brush the top with egg wash.
Bake for 15-18 minutes until risen and golden brown on top. Serve warm