Chitrita Banerji

Chitrita Banerji is the author of Life and Food in Bengal; Bengali Cooking: Seasons and Festivals and Feeding the Gods: Memories of Food and Culture in Bengal.

Recent Articles

The High Cost of Cheap Food

The first thing I did after finishing Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation was to go into the kitchen, slice up some potatoes, and make my own french fries. I sprinkled salt over them, omitted the ketchup, and ate the fries one by one, slowly, savoringly. At the same time, I tried to recall my distant memories of the taste and texture of McDonald's fries, which I haven't eaten for many years. Mine were not as crisp, nor as evenly sized. But they tasted pretty good -- even though my potatoes were store-bought, not harvested from the ground that morning as McDonald's fries are said to be; even though I had not bothered to determine the sugar and starch content of the potatoes as McDonald's does; and even though I had not added the "natural flavor" that gives McDonald's fries their distinctive taste. "French fries have become the most widely sold foodservice item in the United States," Schlosser reports in his wide-ranging book, and "ninety percent of those fries are purchased at fast-food...