I guess it’s awful to make light about a guy in Kentucky shooting half a carton’s people because he didn’t like the way his wife made his eggs. Details on her deficiency were scarce. But it would be sadder still if he had wanted them runny and she had just been trying to comply with Egg Board warnings to cook his breakfast until the salmonella was done. Lock up the guns if anyone wants steak tartare in the middle of the next inevitable E. coli recall.
After reading about Dubliners’ egg-throwing reaction to the Poodle’s memoir, I’m thinking the salmonella eggs should never have been pasteurized. Doesn’t the Chimp have a book tour scheduled this fall? The evil Iowans could have cleaned up, so to speak, selling yolked missiles.
And speaking of rotten eggs, it’s both amazing and not really surprising that wingnuts have decided the real culprit in the great half-billion-egg recall is not the factory owner who extracts maximum profits with minimal sanitation. It’s the “illegal immigrants” who are paid very little to tend the many, many hens. So give their overlords more tax cuts. And wonder why you order a burger and never get to specify whether you want shit with that.
Speaking of unnerving sourcing, one of my favorite restaurants is looking far less alluring since a friend emailed to say she had spotted a Perdue delivery there. I don’t know if it’s true, but it does make me wonder how I could be so dumb as to think you can eat so well for so very little in a sit-down joint, even one that does not allow asses to linger in seats.
At least the dots have finally, finally been connected between what Rick Perlstein memorably dubbed E. coli conservatism and the obscenely huge egg recall (which overshadowed news of the cold cut recall, and the latest tons-of-ground-beef recall). There’s way too much trust in the free market policing itself when greed is the national creed, and when profits are all that matter, shit inevitably happens. It’s always mystified me why Americans just take manure in their meat for granted but can be fanned into hysteria over “killer tomatoes.” At least eggs have finally have hit home. About the sickest my consort and I ever got was after spending a day in an onion field in Georgia that abutted an egg factory farm, in 1992. And that was just from breathing in. Anyone who thinks a clean egg can ever come from that environment should enjoy all the lovely products to be made from the befouled ones from Iowa, which are being “salvaged” and pasteurized. If you want cheap food, you get the filth for free.
One other reason to buy local food: You can feel really smug when the rest of America is in freak-out mode after nearly half a billion supermarket eggs have been recalled. (Worse than the salmonella was the thought that eggs sold in May might still be in refrigerators — and I thought I was bad at GE pruning.) Nearly 20 years ago I sold an op-ed to the hometown paper on another reason to eat local food: You don’t have to worry about shit in it. Nothing is new today except the scale of the disaster, the fact that one producer can flood the market with literal filth. But my bigger beef is with the hollering machines (formerly known as print megaphones). Just as with the oil gusher and the mine explosion and every other regulatory breakdown, now we’re getting no end of stories breathlessly reporting that “the company had a long history of regulatory issues.” Whatever happened to preventive journalism, to exposing the bad guys before they have poisoned more than a thousand people? Once the manure is out, it’s a little late to be exposing the holes in the barn door.
Speaking of which, I have to admit I was a little disturbed by the photo of the Big O and his younger daughter swimming on the Gulf Coast — there are stunts and then there’s stupidity. I’d be hesitant to eat shrimp from there, not because of the oil but because of the dispersant a less than trustworthy company pumped into the source of so much seafood (and life). Then again, maybe it’s no worse than eating beef treated with ammonia, or chickens festering in their own feces. And I wonder how many others noticed the latest report proving it’s beef and chicken that are most responsible for most food poisoning; produce actually comes in third. But tomatoes and scallions have no Big Ag protectors. Too bad there’s no cure for spoon-fed reportage.
No-shit news of the week was the filthiness of the fodder at stadiums around the country. Next they’ll be breathlessly informing us hot dogs languish in dirty water. What it made me marvel at is how many news outlets dutifully send reporters around at the opening of whatever season it is to hype up the fine food on offer. Did Hungry Girl notice anything moving in her tasty turkey sandwich, on either coast?
The big welcome-back was a fresh bout of hysteria over killer produce, in guacamole and salsa. I Googled the numbers the day the freakout started, and it turns out 5,000 brave and free people die from food poisoning every year while more than 30,000 succumb to guns. But I guess it’s our constitutional right to eat lead.
Tweeted the other day how odd it is that Americans get so freaked out about recalls of spinach and other produce but are cow-like in their attitude toward shit in the meat (in 37,000 pounds last week alone, as a matter of fact). A couple of followers suggested it’s because we “know” meat is bad for us. But I don’t think that’s it entirely. There’s also the fact that media scaremongers consider filthy meat a dog-bites-man story, one also best avoided because the beef industry, as “Food Inc.” made so clear, defends itself beyond aggressively. So news outlets will continue to blare any outbreak of salmonella/listeria/E. coli in the produce aisle as “attack of the killer tomatoes” and let the ammonia-soaked ground feces walk away clean.
The hysteria over tainted glasses from McDonald’s made me laugh, though. Here are all these parents freaking out over cadmium when they let their kids eat feces in the form of burgers, when diabetes is a bigger risk than maybe even lead. The only surprise to me was that people paid for the damn movie ads as collectibles; it’s the poor man’s Franklin Mint. They should have been given away free to lure in more suckers. Stupidity is the true danger to your health.
The way Arizona is acting lately makes me want to burn my replica of my birth certificate, so I’m happy to see so much blowback for its absurd overreaction. But in every mess there’s always an upside, in this case the reality that a state with no exploited immigrants is not going to be able to keep providing the whole country with dirt-cheap romaine. It’s one way to keep feces out of food.
And speaking of what you eat being what can kill you, now it turns out there’s shit in the romaine. “Cleaned” and chopped romaine, anyway. In all the coverage of it, though, no one dares discuss how it might have wound up there. I just take it as one more warning that processed crap inevitably lives up to its name. We buy either greens from the Greenmarket or whole heads of lettuce we can wash. Mostly, though, we remember the most encouraging study: Alcohol with meals prevents food poisoning. Never have a potential E. coli-burger without a glass of wine. Maybe three. No recalls in vineyards.
And speaking of hysteria, the media obsession with Toyota is turning me into the equivalent of a Prius birther — maybe it actually is all a careful campaign designed to make hybrid cars look dangerous and keep Americans dependent on oil. The same thing inevitably happens with food. If there’s an E. coli or salmonella outbreak in anything relatively natural, it’s always attack of the killer tomatoes, suicide-mission scallions, lethal-weapon spinach, death in an eggshell. But if the government recalls a few million tons of it-will-kill-you-level contaminated processed beef, good luck finding out about it. Worst of all has been the coverage of the recall of hydrolyzed vegetable protein. That shit is in everything (153 products on the FDA warning list alone), and it’s not making tabloid headlines and leading the teevee “news.” Big Food gets to keep its dirty secrets secret. Maybe Cheetos eaters deserve what they get: messed pajamas
And if any more argument could be needed that the industrial food chain is seriously slimy, now comes Consumer Reports to document the obvious: There’s shit in the masculine (as way too many grocers spell it). The biggest reason to buy pre-washed salad fixings is that they are . . . pre-washed. Don’t tell me to bring them home and suds them all over again. I could do that with a fresh head of lettuce.