Food & Drink

Tom and Jerry's Bum Dog Shack

The other day I heard a knock at my front door. Actually, 3
1/2 year old Bichon Friese heard the knocking first. He always does. He hears
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.

"Do you 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" had vanished.
"I don't eat fast food...but I'm sure plenty of my neighbors will be
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 about 5 plates) Meat eaters tend to be defensive about the fact that they eat 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 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". 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 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. 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.

Treat yourself to another Tom and Jerry's Bum Dog! You deserve a break today...don't you?

~ SlowFood.Com


Over 70 years of Experience ~ Gentile's Wine Sellers