and Jerry's Bum Dog Shack
The other day I heard a knock at my front door.
Actually, Henri...my 3
1/2 year old Bichon Friese heard the knocking first. He always does.
knocking when there is no knocking...but that's another story. Anyway...I
scooped the pup up and opened the door to find a guy looking to be in
his early 20's holding some "literature". "Uh oh,"
I thought to myself. I've had these encounters before.
eat pizza?" he asked. Before I could reply he answered for me.
"Of COURSE you do! And how would you like to sign up for a program
to get FREE PIZZA HUT PIZZA!?" He exclaimed confidently. He obviously
thought it was an offer no one could refuse.
"I don't think I'd be interested," I politely replied.
"You don't eat FREE pizza?"
He seemed taken back...yet determined.
"I don't eat free PIZZA HUT pizza."
"Well how about fast food then? Everybody loves fast food right?"
He was grasping at straws now. I noticed his "sales' smile"
"I don't eat fast food...but I'm sure plenty of my neighbors will
interested in your offer."
I'm usually not this polite for this long.
The poor soul
looked at me like I'd just stepped out of a spaceship. Then he stared
straight at the ground, shaking his head in disbelief as he walked down
the porch steps. "Doesn't eat fast food!" I overheard him
mumbling to himself.
I've been a quasi vegetarian for about two decades now...and I've had
plenty of conversations similar to this one. I remember when I gave
up turkey. (I vacillate on this one) After I told my mother this one
Thanksgiving Day she shrieked, "But what will you EAT!?" I
reminded her that the other 186 plates of food on the table would do
just fine. (I'm exaggerating here...by about 5 plates) Meat eaters tend
to be defensive about the fact that they eat meat...at least towards
some one who doesn't. This is especially true of MEN! (hunters?)
Both my wife and I have progressed from eliminating red meat from our
diet to adding chicken to the list. The decision wasn't anything necessarily
ethical in nature...although it has become so now that I'm less ignorant
of food processing and the way livestock is treated. We both eat fish...and
turkey at Thanksgiving and Christmas...although after the holidays I'm
usually reconsidering this. The turkey I mean. Personally, I don't give
a rat's ass what other people eat. (Although I DO believe that animals
should be raised, fed, cared for and slaughtered in a humane manner...which
in this country they most certainly are not.) And they're so indiscriminate
about it. They're like the Unitarians of food these meat eaters. Anything
goes. Deep fry and biggie size ANYTHING and they gobble it up gleefully.
It wouldn't surprise me if they would scarf down a big plate of rat's
ass given the opportunity. Hey...sounds like "state fair food"
to me. Deep fried rat's ass...on a stick. Get 'em hot and fast at Tom
andJerry's Bum Dog Shack. I can picture this easily.
Now just because some one is a vegetarian or a quasi vegetarian, doesn't
mean they eat healthy. I've known vegetarians who ate jelly donuts all
day long. And if meat eaters are defensive about their diet, vegetarians
can be downright hypocritical. I once knew a woman who would look at
the ingredients in saltine crackers before she ate some with her soup.
Yet she didn't think twice about snorting cocaine up her nose if it
was offered to her at a party. Hell...the drug could have been cut with
saltine crackers for all she knew. If one can assume defensive meat
eaters are the Unitarians of food then...ironically...vegans are the
fundamentalists of gastronomy. I once read of a mishap at a baseball
game in Toronto where hot dogs were shot up into the stands with some
sort of...for lack of a better term...hot dog bazooka. Of course the
meat eaters loved this spectacle. But at one game a hot dog bazooka
jammed and a wiener "exploded" all over a woman who happened
to be vegan. It's kind of funny when you think about it...picturing
the scene...but most definitely NOT to this vegan woman. She began screaming
bloody murder about "what if some meat had gotten into her mouth!!!
Blah, blah, blah." Wow. Now there's a life crisis for you. I've
had vegans lecture me about the evils of eating dairy products, fish,
etc. while they're smoking a cigarette. Huh? I've confronted these people
and they counter with, "But it's a NATURAL cigarette." I guess
that means they'll be getting "natural" lung cancer.
This is what I believe about food. Eat real food. Eat whatever you desire...just
make sure it's quality. And if you choose to eat animals...and it IS
a conscious decision...fess up to it. Some one killed an animal and
you're eating part of it. That's the reality. And I find it curious
how conservatives...who 999 times out of 1000 are meat eaters...will
wonder aloud why anyone would do drugs (illegal drugs is what they mean)
without the knowledge of what's in them or what they might do to one's
body and/or brain while crunching on deep fried pork rinds in a bag.
Pigs are routinely given anabolic steroids to "fatten them up".
Yet...in the Olympics and almost ALL sports use of these drugs are not
only illegal because of possible "performance enhancement"
but deemed dangerous to one's health. Pork rinds are "parts"
of the animal that are "processed" then deep fried...most
likely in some sort of lard. Yummy. Most commercial snacks involve such
lunacy. And might they not consider that eating meat is a part of "survival
of the fittest?" One of a the concepts in a theory known as "Evolution"
is it not?
Good food is more satisfying than fast, processed food (and I use the
word loosely). Same way with beer. Drinking ONE good brew is better
than chugging 12 cheap-o lights. That is, if you're drinking beer because
you actually LIKE the taste rather than shooting for the desired EFFECT.
So, if some one insists on eating meat then why not eat free range,
grass fed beef? Cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys...even fish were never
meant to have a diet of grain. Nor were they meant to be shot full of
steroids. American meat isn't accepted in Europe for this very reason.
Animals should have a LIFE before they're killed for food. Animals have
legs so they should walk right? It's only humane. For a civilization
with a constant ethical argument concerning the sanctity of life (e.g..-
abortion...the death penalty) it's terribly hypocritical to do otherwise.
Look at the French. These people eat lot's of butter, heavy sauces,
plenty of meats. Yet they don't have anywhere near a problem with obesity
and heart disease like we Americans. It's because the food they eat
is honest...at least more so than here. French cattle graze in pastures.
I've recently finished reading a book entitled "Fast Food Nation"
by Eric Schlosser. It's very good and I recommend it to everyone. But
you may not like what you learn. Working conditions, abuse of animals,
smuggling of illegal aliens for their workforce, unethical business
practices...these are the cornerstones of the fast food industry. You
are what you eat. That's always been true. But what this book helps
confirm is that you are also "what THEY eat." And you might
not like to know what the animals you're eating are eating. Mostly,
pigs and cows are kept in a "holding area" where they can
barely move leaving literally tons of manure, urine, flies, etc. on
the very ground they are standing on...while they are eating. You can
draw your own conclusions as to what very well might be getting into
the feed of these poor creatures. Yes...you are what THEY eat.
The independent U.S. farmer is quickly becoming extinct because Americans
assume (as they do with fuel) that food should be readily available
and cheap. Family farms cannot keep up with the corporate ones. This
is also very true of ranchers. The American western way of life is sinking
along with the family farm. I say, "You get what you pay for".
Fast food IS cheap. But it's really not fast. And it's arguably not
food either. Cheap is all it really is.
There is a movement that began in the mid eighties in Italy called "The
Slow Food Movement". The philosophy centers around the celebration
of eating genuine food, eaten at a table in communion with other people.
This could easily be a step in the right direction in helping salvage
the American family farm, the American family itself and a possible
renaissance of the concept of "home". If you ask me, this
sure beats eating greasy fries and a sloppy burger...that have spent
an hour under a heat lamp...out of a paper bag in the car. Eat what
you like. I just think people should be honest about. Think about it
before eating whatever it is you're dying to eat. Don't concern yourself
with me. I don't give a rat's ass. Go ahead.
to another Tom and Jerry's Bum Dog! You deserve a break today...don't
~ Gentile's Wine Sellers