Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears! Er, your eyes, rather. And a few moments of your time. Anthony Bourdain is sponsoring a writing contest, which I felt quite compelled …
OK, so here’s the story. Last month, I ranted blogged about the mandatory pasteurization of almonds, and actually sent the FDA a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request “looking to obtain any and all studies, information, public complaints or comments, illnesses reported, etc. that led up to the mandatory pasteurization of almonds.”
Well, the response is in —
Dear Mr. Clemens:
In response to your request of January 11, 2010 for information pertaining to mandatory pasteurization of almonds. [sic]
You may wish to contact the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) about this issue.
We have searched our files and found no responsive information.
So, I’ve been trying to eat healthier over the past eight or nine months, and a lot of better choices have made their way into my regimen. No, not the usual low-fat/low-cal/low-carb crap that is pumped full of additives and promoted as a breakthrough panacea by health experts on Oprah before it is pulled from the market for causing death in lab rats. I’ve taken to eating much more nutritious, wholesome foods, and have tried to counteract my affinity for beer and cheese with regular servings of raw vegetables, leafy greens and the like.
Now, I’m certainly no Woody Harrelson all raw foodie or anything like that, but I definitely have placed more emphasis on eating minimally processed foods, which at the core of its definition would indicate a leaning towards raw ingredients. So, as I was scooping my raw organic almonds into a baggy from the Whole Foods bulk bins (prepared to pay a generous $15.99/lb for them too), I notice what I will from henceforth refer to as “the last straw.”
Just as I’m sealing up my expensive little bag, I see a sign alerting me that back in 2007 (where the hell have I been?), a ruling was made that required all almonds grown in the United States to undergo pasteurization, even those that are labeled as “raw.” WTF? Are they serious? And while “raw” organic almonds have to be steam pasteurized, conventionally grown almonds are often sterilized with propylene oxide, a compound that the FDA’s homies, the EPA, call a “mild [central nervous system] depressant” and a “probable human carcinogen.”
Oh yes, please, FDA, save us from the pure, nutritious, unadulterated bounty of earth by spraying it with a synthetic chemical wondergas that causes “moderate acute toxicity from inhalation, high acute toxicity from dermal exposure, and moderate to high acute toxicity from ingestion.” Phew, that was close! There could have been enzymes and beneficial bacteria on that nutrient dense almond. I feel much safer now — thank you!
Dr. Kevorkian may not be performing assisted suicides any longer, but rest assured you can still turn to Ronald McDonald for help. As the McRib sandwich returns once again (now after its third “Farewell Tour”), it’s a strange reminder that pork, bun, tangy “BBQ” sauce, pickles, and onions can go dangerously wrong. Sure you can develop hypertension, diabetes, or any other slow killer from just about any fast food chain, but McDonald’s wants to set the record straight – guns don’t kill people, McRibs kill people.
Using no doubt the cheapest finest cuts of what may have been considered pork in another life or in some perverse dimension, McDonald’s pulverizes this “meat” into an appetizing convalescent home texture, mixing in a secret blend of water, salt, dextrose, BHA and BHT, propyl gallate and citric acid to optimize shelf life flavor and to ensure that you, the consumer, enjoy a slow, painful death sometime thereafter. To rub figurative salt into the wounds (not to mention the 980mg of actual sodium), some culinary cacodemon thought pressing the porcine pulp into some form vaguely resembling ribs would add to its charm and instill some sort of subconscious association with true barbecue.
Never missing a beat, The Simpsons famously parodied the McRib with Krusty Burger releasing its own “Ribwich”:
Krusty: Listen, about the Ribwich. We won’t be making them anymore. The animal we made them from is now extinct.
Homer: The pig?
Otto: The cow?
Krusty: You’re way off. Think smaller…think more legs.