In the 20th century, the rise of packaged foods brought drastic changes to the way many of us eat, and not for the better. A huge percentage of our food is now awful-tasting, nutritionally bankrupt and environmentally damaging.I can't agree. I think most of our food is appealing (in another article in the Times magazine, a Brit cook acknowledges a 15-pound hamburger from a WV restaurant is good). That's a complaint of some--the sneaky nutritionists at the big companies trick us by using lots of salt, sugar, fat, and other tasty things. If a fast place really sold "awful-tasting" food, it wouldn't survive.
More seriously, I remember tasting frozen peas for the first time. There's no comparison between the mush from canned peas and frozen peas. (In upstate NY, fresh peas were as fleeting as a hummingbird.) And the canned soups of today are much tastier than the Campbell soups of my youth. And even though my mother cooked, she wasn't good at it--didn't have the time or money or interest to do it well. (Her baking, on the other hand, as one might expect of the child of German parents was often great.)