October 16, 2012
People, I am here today to warn you about something very dangerous. No, it is not the zombie apocalypse … although it is coming, it is surely coming. This is something else entirely. No, it is not Oprah Winfrey, who I find scary, as well as dangerous, or even Honey Boo Boo, who I think is even more dangerous than Oprah. No, this is something dangerous, but yet vital to life. Figured it out, yet? It is food.
I find this disheartening since I am a big fan of food. I mean, I eat several times a day, every day. Now, when I say dangerous, I don’t mean if you eat fried chicken, fried potatoes, fried bread and fried chocolate cake every meal for 30 years, your heart will explode and kill you. And it will, make no mistake about that. No, I mean dangerous in that you could die in a matter of days, or even hours.
I could understand if the food police said “Don’t eat a dead opossum that has lain on a road three days or longer,” or “Don’t eat the zombies,” but to say a food that billions of people are ingesting on a daily basis is dangerous, well, that is a little scary. In fact, some of our most popular and healthiest foods are unsafe, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
So what do you think the most dangerous thing you can eat is? How about, squash? Squid? Donkey meat loaf? Okay, I listed those things because I’m repelled by them. But, if you said “eggs,” then, my good sir, you win the George Washington Carver Award for being a food smarty pants. Yes, eggs are the most dangerous, being responsible for 352 salmonella outbreaks from 1990 to 2006, according to the USDA. Throw in the clogging-the-arteries thing, and, well, eggs are right out… if you want to play it safe. However, safe is not how this homeboy rolls, so eggs are still on my menu.
There are several things on the list I could live without, including sprouts and oysters. Now, most people know that the Danish philosopher and theologian Soren Kierkegaard is famous for saying, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards,” or “Once you label me you negate me.” However, only Kierkegaard scholars are familiar with the quote, “Oysters are icky, icky, icky.” I think that says it all.
Now, there are two foods on the list that I love, and, much like the eggs, no matter how dangerous they are, I will continue to eat them. The first is potatoes. Whenever the Mistress of the Manor asks, “Oh, most wonderful husband of mine, what may I prepare for your salivary pleasure? … okay, maybe she doesn’t put it exactly like that, but you get the gest… my request usually includes potatoes. Whether they’re mashed, baked, or fried, I love me some potatoes.
Ice cream is another food, the USDA says is dangerous. Well, I think that’s absurd. Ice cream is the food of the gods, the nectar of the saints, the creamy deliciousness of the creatures of the euphoria plain. Most of the unsafe ice cream is homemade; that is one reason I only buy my ice cream in the supermarket or at Tanya’s Tasty Treats. Well, I used to buy ice cream at Tanya’s before it closed down. It turns out that the “special” on the menu involved a little more than just ice cream.
Now, there’s other good stuff on this list, including tomatoes, cheese and berries. When I talk about tomatoes, I mean the freshly grown red ones that you can only purchase during the summer. I’m not talking about those pinkish lumps of a tomato-like vegetation sold in supermarkets the rest of the year.
I guess my question is, what gives the USDA the right to scare the bejesus out of us. I thought the science whizzes at the USDA were supposed to be making sure our food was safe. However, judging from the outbreaks of salmonella, E. coli, staphylococcus and norovirus over the years, it appears they are falling down on the job, most likely from eating oysters. We don’t need to be told that eggs can be dangerous …after all, Rush Limbaugh came from an egg, or so he claims. We’ll know when we’re sick by the unexpected spewing of our bodily fluids.
What I’d like to see is the USDA do its job, so we can binge ourselves on eggs, cheese, ice cream and potatoes. Maybe not all at one time, but you get the idea. We, in America, deserve the freedom to eat what we want, when we want and ever how much we want; although, I must admit Cool Hand Luke did overdo it just a bit.
Anyway, it’s as Kierkegaard said, “A man who is denied the food of his heart is a man lacking the resolve to forge his hopes, build his dreams and erect his aspirations. That, and he may become a zombie.”