After yesterday’s Pulitzer-nominated exposition on the joy of finding a stack of nearly-new Levi’s in my closet just as I realized I needed new ones, it seems like a questionable idea to follow up with a post focusing largely on food. But that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
Because that’s just how I roll.
Now, before anybody gets their britches all bunched up and starts thinking, “Oh, MY STARS! No wonder poor Puddin had to break out his husky pants, all he thinks about is food, food, and more food!”, you can dial back your excessive worry a few notches. I mean it. Seriously, Mom, put down the phone, there’s no reason to call the Coronary Hotline.
The fact is, I’m not about to go off on a thousand word discourse on why The Voice wants me to attempt Blue Ash Chili’s 8-pound 4-Way Challenge or how I’ve decided I’m henceforth only going to eat french fries in the Canadian manner, smothered in cheese curds and gravy (the fancy word for it is “poutine“).
No, no. Actually, quite the opposite. I worry about food, and how most of us eat.
I started ruminating on this subject again after a few food-related topics caught my eye Wednesday morning. First, Julie, whom you will probably recall is the High Priestess of Bloggery behind Wine Me, Dine Me (in Cincinnati) and author of Puddintopia guests posts such as this one, posted a reference to a NY Times article about buying meat from an actual butcher, rather than getting it shrink-wrapped in a kind of sensory-deprivation meat coffin from the grocery store.
Personally, I’m a huge proponent of talking to a real butcher for buying meat. Whenever I get a bee in the ole’ bonnet to make something special that requires an out-of-the-ordinary purchase, I tend to have someone who knows his/her way around the critter in question cut me exactly what I want, or correct me when what I think I want isn’t what I really need.
Look, I get it, you’re already at the grocer store, why not just pick up some beefy stuff while you’re there? And really, it can be a little overwhelming having to discuss your meat with some stranger in a white apron. But take it from me, when you’re messin’ with your meat, you don’t want to mess it up.
Ahem. What I mean is, the butcher is your friend. A good butcher wouldn’t let you buy crap.
Julie also shared a link via Twitter about the ingredients in the McRib meat patty. Admit it, you’re not sure you want to click that link, are you? I mean, what possible good could come from knowing what’s in that ribbish-shaped “pork” patty. Trust me, I understand. You love the McRib, and you hate Ronald and his evil corporate cronies for keeping it from you for months, sometimes years, at a time. And the last thing you want to do is think about what’s in it.
You think it’s tasty, dammit, and just want to be left alone. But then again, dogs think anti-freeze is tasty too.
Something else I’ve been wondering about lately: what’s cheap nowadays? Every time I have barbecue, whether it’s ribs, shoulder, brisket, or what, I always end up somewhat amazed at the higher-than-I’d-expect price. Because barbecue, at its core, is about taking cheap, otherwise not-so usefully cuts o’ meat and making something wonderful and special with them.
And it’s not just barbecue, either. As the food movement (I hate the word “foodie”, by the way) has grown and spread, it seems to me that many formerly inexpensive, peasant-type staples are getting a new lease of on life…along with a new price tag more commensurate with demand. But when the cheap stuff is no longer cheap, what’s a peasant to do?
I’m afraid the answer is to buy convenient, chemical-laden, processed stuff because it’s cheap, salty, sweet, and the kids’ll eat it.
What? No, of course, I have no scientific evidence of that. This is a blog, for Pete’s sake, not some kind of science journal. Did you not see the part where yesterday I posted about fat jeans?
So what’s the point? Why’d I choose to waste a post complaining about modern food? Well, because it’s important. In the course of generation, food has transformed from a cultural touchstone to a corporatized commodity.
And that makes more worry. For my kids especially.
Because some day some major food company is going to figure out a to sneak Soylent Green into those frozen dinners and McRibs, and then where will we be?