King Corn, a documentary about this country’s corn problem with a backyard style, is opening in theaters from DC to LA this month and next (but not Cleveland, as far as I can tell—are you listening Jon Forman?). It’s an excellent and entertaining reminder of what Pollan describes in Omnivore’s Dilemma (Pollan’s work inspired the film and he’s interviewed as well): that we are walking, breathing corn. The film makers (above) buy an acre in Iowa to get hands on experience of America’s most important crop. And also its scariest. We grow a single strain designed to thrive in close quarters (urban corn); it costs more money to grow than it’s worth and you can’t eat it. There’s a funny moment of Ellis and Woolf tasting the stuff and they can’t, they spit it out—“It tastes like chalk,” they agree. Unable to gain entry into a high fructose corn syrup factory, they fabricate their own. We’re growing mountains of food we can’t eat until we turn it into crap that makes us sick. King Corn is in what a Times review calls the truth-seeking comic hero genre, and it’s a good, honest documentary, worth watching. Perhaps the saddest part of this situation for me is that the people who are thoughtlessly devouring this food that’s making us sick are not likely to have access to the movie or would even choose to see it if they did.
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I'm an author and journalist who writes primarily about food and cooking. On this site you'll find cooking techniques, recipes, and opinion on current food issues.
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