How to Eat in the Most Obese County in the United States

Let’s start with an appetizer:

One thing you need to know before going to the Mississippi Delta is what a Kool-Aid pickle is — and how to make it.

1. Pour pickle juice from a jar of pickles into a bowl.
2. Add Kool-Aid to pickle juice.
3. Pour pickle juice back over pickles.
4. Enjoy?

Where can you find Kool-Aid pickles? All over the region, including at the Double Quick, a chain of convenience stores, many of which also sell a smorgasbord of fried foods.

The video, produced by the NPR and Oxford Magazine, documents the difficulties eating well in (putatively) one of the richest agricultural regions on earth, where fresh, unprocessed food is the exception. Not surprisingly, there is a close relationship between poverty and poor diet; the devastating sequellae of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and stroke, it hardly needs to to be said, ends up afflicting those least able to afford the health care, drugs and lifestyle changes necessary for effective management. Note the interview in the grocery store, and the dearth of fresh vegetables, apart from a few over-processed tomatoes and cucumbers.

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  1. #1 by The Nerdy Nurse on Sunday 22 May 2011 - 0635

    I prefer to call it a Kool-lickle

    it is very expensive to eat well, so in an are where poverty is the norm rather than the exception, it is no surprise to see obesity running rampant.

  2. #2 by Barry on Monday 23 May 2011 - 0156

    ” Note the interview in the grocery store, and the dearth of fresh vegetables, apart from a few over-processed tomatoes and cucumbers.”

    Before getting too smug, drop into the Northern Store in any Nunavut community. Same problems, different country.

  3. #3 by torontoemerg on Monday 23 May 2011 - 0224

    @ barry; Thanks for the comment. I get that. I wasn’t trying to be smug, and the market gardens on Baffin Island, I know, are few and far between. As you remark, the difficulties are in some ways similar, as they are in places of my personal knowledge, such as rural eastern Ontario, or some locations in the developing world. The problem is, cheap calories are often crappy calories, especially if they are highly industrialized. In the event, I am not clear why pointing this out counts me as being smug. Is the objection to the story being in (for me) a foreign country, even though the vast majority (>80%) of my readers are American? Or is it a swipe at the food snobbery you suppose I have? Regardless, I am only grateful I can afford to have choice in what I eat. Many can’t.

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