Back to Nature

By / Food / September 26th, 2012 / 1

The other day, I sat down to watch TV for a bit. I don’t actually watch very much TV. The truth is I flip channels, one after the other, over and over, until I’ve come to the firm conclusion that there’s nothing on TV that actually interests me. You may argue that I may be missing out on some really interesting show, and you may be right. However, my tendency to restlessness prevents me from focussing on the average talk show or sitcom for very long. What, you may be wondering, does TV have to do with getting back to nature, as the title of this piece suggests?

It all started when I saw a commercial for Schneiders Country Naturals. If you haven’t yet come across this product line, it’s Schneider’s attempt at producing deli meat and hotdogs that are free from gluten, milk, nitrate and any of the other typical fillers that mysteriously find their way into these kinds of products. Are they jumping on the ‘go natural’ bandwagon? Probably. But, they’re not the only ones. Piller’s has now come out with its own line of ‘free from’ products. There are also other companies, like Lilydale and Mark’s Nearly Famous, that produce food with little to no preservatives and additives. As far as I can tell,

Mark’s Nearly Famous has functioned according to that principal since day one. Having tried them all, I can’t help but say that Mark’s is tops. Flavour, texture, aroma … you name it, Mark’s sausages and deli meats taste totally natural to me. I have multiple family members who continue to make their own sausages and deli meats. There’s a world of difference between the homemade stuff and store-bought. Mark’s tastes homemade. I’d place Lilydale second, followed by Schneiders then Pillers. Ultimately, I think the effort these larger companies are making to be more natural is hopeful. No one wants to eat all of those chemicals, excess salts and sugars anymore. Consumers are stepping up and telling companies what they want, and those companies are listening.

The end result is ultimately positive. My issue, though, is with how some of these companies try to convince us to buy their products.

Have you seen Schneiders Country Naturals two commercials? Did you recognize the songs playing in the background of both commercials? One is For What It’s Worth by Buffalo Springfield and the other is Going Up The Country by Canned Heat, both written in the 1960s. Schneiders is clearly using these songs to connect us to some nostalgic concept of the ‘old days’. Those old days were supposed to have been so much better, happier, healthier. Except, we know that for the most part they weren’t. The fact that Schneiders is trying to sell its products by aligning them to some idealized past is problematic. I have to wonder, if that ‘more natural’ time never really existed, then perhaps Schneiders products aren’t all they’re advertised to be. Going Up To The Country was based on a 1920s blues song that expressed the singer’s desire to escape his working conditions and retreat to a calm, clean rural landscape. That’s the same sentiment associated with the ‘hippies’ of the 1960s. As for Buffalo Springfield’s number, that song was written about the Sunset Strip curfew law that saw thousands out protesting. Hmmm, if the ’60s were so perfect (not to mention the ’20s before that) why would they want so badly to escape? Oh wait, I know. It’s because the ’60s really were no different than today (worse in someways actually). Watching the commercial, I have to wonder what we’re supposed to be going back to? Right, the countryside, when DDT (the miracle pesticide) was in widespread use. No thanks.

My two cents: keep it honest. We don’t need to be sold on natural. If it truly is, the taste will speak to us and will keep us coming back for more.


Rosemary Mantini has always loved words. When she isn't working as the Associate Editor at Tidings Magazine, she's helping others achieve their writing dreams, and sometimes she even relaxes with a good book and a glass of wine.

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