The March of the Cheezie

Our snacks as a history of ourselves

Our snacks are under attack. Sugar is a modern-day super villain, processed foods are the new tobacco, and it looks as if the potato chip’s heyday is coming to an end. Many will see this as a small snippet of good news in the current daily deluge of bad, a sign that the fight against corporate control of our food systems is finally paying off. Snack food has, after all, become a potent symbol of the industrial food chain, as well as a key battlefield, since snacks have been blamed for a range of modern problems, including obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

There is also a more generalized anxiety that, somehow, processed food has disrupted the natural order that involves families bonding over the pleasures of preparing and eating natural and homemade dinners together. That’s a pretty rosy picture, but as University of Winnipeg historian Janis Thiessen argues in her new book, Snacks: A Canadian Food History...