Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Too Stupid To Eat

Ok, so we've been all shiny and happy around here for a while and I haven't gone totally apeshit over something in a while which I guess means I'm due. Now, while I could go totally apeshit about The Great Mexican Menace and the good people of Arizona who apparently want to mow one another's lawns for pennies on the dollar, I think that topic will be pretty well mined by others who are less prone to accusing great swaths of people (who only recently started celebrating MLK day and still don't acknowledge daylight savings time) of being retarded. See how Ciceronian that was?

No, instead I'd like to talk about a different kind of menace; one that I encounter at least once a week when I do the most benign of activities: grocery shopping. Now I've done some good long research on this (I just googled it) and it appears that my statistical needs and preferences are not being met so that a small and deeply annoying minority's can be. I think you know who you are. Yes, I point my finger accusingly at the following groups:

The gluten-free
The nut allergic
The vegan
and to a lesser extent the lactose intolerant.

Let me break it down.

1. The Gluten-Free
About .5% of people have celiac disease. This could not suck more. As an avowed bread-o-phile I cannot think of a worse infliction (including perhaps cancer as you could continue to eat bread while having cancer). I feel deeply for you people and hope you can find some way to carry on because I would not know how to. Honestly. That being said, way way way way more than .5% of my Whole Foods's shelves are filled with gluten-free items. As a person who enjoys wheat and wish it were incorporated into more foods (like spinach), I do not appreciate being told that something cool and yummy I was about to buy contains no gluten. I like gluten. I am glutinous. What offends me more is seeing the label "gluten-free" on items that obviously are: like rice. We'll come back to why this offends me later.

2. The Nut Allergic
About 1% of the people are allergic to nuts including, in certain cases, my best friend. Yet now we cannot have nuts in schools. Soy butter and jelly anyone? Listen, being allergic to things must suck. I, for one, am allergic to idiocy and it totally rules my life. I have to plan my days around avoiding idiocy for fear of the physical ramifications such encounters would produce. But, again, I'm not sure if nut allergy sufferers are, by definition, idiots. Which means you probably don't need to list on a carton of milk that it contains no nuts.

3. The Vegans
Aw man, you people. I have a whole host of moral problems with you, not least of which is the whole, it must be nice to be so bloody rich and well-fed that you can start moralizing about what foods shouldn't be eaten. I want to send you all to re-education camp in sunny Somalia and see how soon you would kill another vegan for a chance at some goat meat. But, we're talking about why I hate you when I shop. Accurate numbers are a trifle difficult to come by, so I'll give you the upper level of the estimate because I'm a nice person. About 1% of the people have chosen, despite all rational arguments to the contrary, to be vegan. Much like our friends the gluten-averse, however, your vegan crap takes up way way way more than 1% of the shelves. And most of it with crap that only tells me you don't want to be vegan in the first place: vegan "chicken" nuggets, rice milk, soy cheese, garden burgers. You know what tastes better than those things? Try chicken, milk, cheese, and cow. Similarly, I think it's underestimating the slowly disintegrating brain power of the vegans to label things like salsa as vegan.

4. The Lactose Intolerant
Ok, you guys were hardest because apparently there are a lot of you. That being said, from what I understand from the people I know who are afflicted, this pretty much means you don't drink milk, go easy on the cheese and, sob, push away a plate of ice cream after a single bite. Therefore, you have the easiest job in avoiding what you can't eat. From which I can infer that you don't need to be told that a can of tomatoes is dairy-free.

Perhaps you see the pattern here. My best friend, a lifelong allergic to yummy things like almonds and hazelnuts, ASKS before he eats. Even at super super fancy restaurants. Similarly, he uses his EYE HOLES to read ingredients if there is doubt. I know reading is hard, so perhaps our Blackberries and iPhones will one day be equipped with virtual eyes that can read for us, but if you're going to effing DIE if you eat a nut, perhaps you have some responsibility to yourself to be a little vigilant. Similarly, I don't know if I'm ready to believe that we are stupid enough as a society that we need the equivalent of labels on apples that read "vegan." Apples are vegan by definition. Any vegan stupid enough to not buy an apple because it didn't have a vegan label is too stupid to be allowed to eat in the first place.

Once upon a time I lived a life that was bereft of bacon. It was a sad life, but one that was founded on unbreakable rules about what could and could not be eaten. While many foodstuffs had a secret code that would let me know if I could eat it, others didn't. And some of those others were permitted provided I read the ingredients to determine if offending items were included. And I was all of eight. As precocious a reader as I may have been, if an eight-year-old can read through a set of ingredients and put the package down when she encounters the words 'lard,' 'animal shortening,' or 'gelatin,' I think we should demand just as much of full grown surburban moms. Most of whose kids don't have any allergies at all, it's just that the mother read an article in Idiots Weekly that said any of the following: "gluten will turn your toddler into a fat chick," "nuts can make your kid gay," "milk weakens the immune system in families with a net income of more than 500K," and "meat is murder."

And just so we're clear. Meat IS a whole food. As is milk. And are peanuts. Soy chicken nuggets? Not so much. Those have less whole ingredients. If you're wondering what they are, they're the things that make something as utterly repulsive as a soy nugget taste kind of like fried chicken. If you'd like to get an idea of how whole those ingredients are, I invite you to take a little trip down the Jersey Turnpike which is where those "flavors" are created. After visiting, please let me know if you wouldn't just rather buy some happy, free range, chicken and fry it up in breadcrumbs and egg.

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