|Born In The USA ?|
“My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four unless there are three other people!”
– Orson Welles
Seeing as a new strain of Escherichia Coli is spreading across Europe, I thought the timing was ripe for me to focus on all matters gastronomical. Don’t let the technical term for e. coli scare you, it’s still the same old bacteria that might be swarming over your ‘gherkin’ – um, that’s German for cucumber, and of course it’s those German cukes you do want to be careful of. Know what I mean? I think you do!
Anyway, recently I read an article in USA Today excusing the fact that Americans are rotund, overweight, fat, tubby and obese. No, terms like ‘pleasantly’ or ‘deliciously’ plump did not spring to mind, nor did the culturally insignificant ‘zaftig’. I was amazed at how wishy washy and namby pamby the exoneration was for us Americans who readily squirt Ready Whip and Cheez Whiz down our gullets. Perhaps the author intended to inspire sympathy for a nation of genetically challenged porkers. I’m not sure, but let’s be honest here, I’m an American, ipso facto I’ve been conditioned to consume ad nauseum. I’m fat, and it’s not because of my DNA. It’s because I open my mouth and act like a Hoover vacuum cleaner whenever I’m at the table, in front of the fridge, and at every convenience store I chance to pass.
Yes, I love to (in alphabetical order) banquet, chow down, devour, digest, dine, eat, feast upon, gobble up, gorge, gormandize, lunch, make a pig of myself, munch, nibble, nosh, partake there of, peck, pick, pig out, polish off my plate, pork out, scarf and scoff, snack, swallow whole, and wolf down anything edible. I draw the line at grazing, however, as I’m not an animal!
I attack my plate with gusto and revel in my cultural heritage (burp). It’s amazing that my jaws haven’t burned out from years of overuse. When asked the philosophical question “do we live to eat or eat to live”, I am most likely to respond with my mouth full. I exude gastronomic hedonism, but not in a hell-bent way ala’ the late Marlon Brando.
Now, I know that I’m not alone in saying that for us gluttons there is a double whammy; we really do enjoy our food (read: eating, cooking) and we also abuse it as a source of comfort to us in time of stress. We worry and so we eat. We’re nervous and so we eat. We’re upset because we eat so much … and so we eat some more. Heapings of mashed potatoes topped with dollops of gravy, fried chicken dipped in BBQ sauce with a side of spare ribs, pizza with all the toppings and some garlic bread, … and then there’s lunch and dinner.
Suffice it to say that it’s hard losing weight. It’s even harder not gaining weight! Adding insult to injury, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently unveiled their new logo to replace the old food pyramid. They replaced it with a plate of food. Are they kidding? Don’t they understand that if they show us a plate of food, there will be mass salivating of biblical proportions? So much so that the flow of drool will make the recent flooding in Missouri look like a babbling brook.
Given that we Americans are addicted to our food, one might wonder why it’s the USDA involved in promoting nutrition and not the the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). After all, isn’t one of the missions of the USDA to support food producers and promote their products? The answer is obvious: more brainwashing compliments of the powers that be. Make people hungry and watch the sales tax flow like … well like the aforementioned drool. If you ask me, this smacks more of the domain of the Department of Homeland Security, whose mission it is to “ensure a homeland that is safe, secure, and resilient against terrorism and other hazards“. In terms of ‘hazard’, it’s a no brainer that all the junk food, fast food and comfort food we shove down our throats is killing us!
I don’t smoke. I don’t drink (well, at least not to excess). I don’t snort anything besides my own snot. But I eat. It’s a sickness. But what bothers me is how others are profiting from my misery, and all in the name of good ole American free enterprise. Fast food has become synonmous with the USA. It’s as American as blue jeans, baseball and apple pie (which technically also qualifies as junk food). At some point, we the porkers of the United States of America need to stand up and shout “no thanks!” to McDonalds, Burger King, Wendys, and Taco Bell. No thanks, we don’t want your poison. We need to tell ‘the Colonel’ we don’t want his three-boobed, six legged Kentucky Fried Chickens … though a few spare ‘Hot Wings’ can’t hurt, right?
We need to stop terrorizing our bodies and nuture our health and minds, not our guts. We need to stop supporting pharmaceutical manafacturers who hawk their bottles of antacids and Pepto Bismol to us in the name of gastronomic distress relief, and who also produce toxic food additives that prevent us from feeling full and keep us coming back for more.
Lastly, we need to tell Uncle Sam that he needs to start taking care of his own, and not ‘big business’ lobbyists with appetites only for our disposable income. If the USDA really wanted to help, they’d plaster the following words across their fangled and newly minted plate: “Put the pork down! Step away from the table!”
PS. Thanks for reading. It’s been said that more die in the United States of too much food than of too little (John Kenneth Galbraith). Do you agree or would you rather I get back to you after dinner? Either way, let me know (burp).