American individualismAmerican individualism is a powerful thing. It is the defining element of our national character. It is the reason Daniel Boone left the small comforts of village life to spend months alone in the wild. It is what sent settlers further and further west to grab their private little piece of the earth.

Nobody tells Americans what to do. Nobody controls us. We are free. We are Individualists. We are responsible for our actions.

And what do we free-thinking, uncontrolled, All-American Individualists want?

We want low fat fried chicken.

Which is why, processed food is a $550 billion dollar industry, according to the New York Times.

Apparently, Americans are not content to accept certain basic facts about frying; i.e., the fact that frying adds calories to a dish. We want to have our cake and eat it too. Thankfully, science is here to save the day. Listen to this description of a magical new chicken concoction from the wizards at Proteus Industries of Gloucester, Massachusetts.

During the bath in the liquid solution, which consisted of water and protein molecules extracted from a slurry of chicken or fish tissue, a thin, imperceptible shield formed around the meat. When the chicken was submerged in oil, the coating blocked fat from being absorbed from the fryer.

Mmmm. I don’t know about you but my mouth is watering. I mean what an incredible idea. Fried chicken without the fat. Sure, you could just, you know, bake the chicken, but then it wouldn’t be fried, would it?

Now I’m no Luddite. I love science. I love chemistry. Just don’t ask me to eat it. We humans—even Americans—are biological creatures outfitted with biological digestive systems. Why we think it makes sense to pour chemistry into our gullets instead of the flora and fauna the good earth provides, is beyond me. Yes, I know. All food is processed to some extent. If you stick something in an oven, you are processing it. But there is a gargantuan difference between combining and cooking organic ingredients and eating Twinkies.

But it can’t be the power of advertising that compels us to consume large quantities of chemofood. It can’t be the memetic assault of television commercials and roadside billboards advertising MSG-laden, hormone injected, frankenfood that persuades us. After all, we’re individuals. We’re free. Nobody tells us what to eat.

By the way, you know what scientists feed rats when they want to make them obese for research purposes? MSG. And lest you think you’re safe from this neurologically active excitotoxin, here is a list of alternate names for MSG. Try to find a box of processed anything—low fat or otherwise—that doesn’t have one of those words in the ingredients list.

Bon Appetit!