Tuesday, June 26, 2018

"Foodenfreude" *

* “The malicious enjoyment in the misfortunes of other foods.”

There is always the tension. 

No foodstuff is safe.

Carbs.  Sugar.  Fat.  Licorice.

LICORICE:  Licorice!

It’s only a matter of time. You know the saying (I shall tastelessly appropriate for literary purposes):

“First they came for the peanuts.  But I wasn’t a peanut.  Then they came for the high fructose corn syrup.  But I wasn’t…”

You never know who’s going to be next.

CHOCOLATE:  “We were in big trouble for a while.  Then they did a new study – we’re okay!  The darker the better!  The bad part’s the milk!

MILK:  “We still say it does a body good.  But is anyone listening?”

Who knows?  Maybe someday, milk will do a body even better.  It happened with coffee.  Red wine’s stock’s on the rise.  Nothing seems to stay down forever.  Remember the Woody Allen film Sleeper?  Pastrami was a “health food.”  I know that’s satire, but it makes a legitimate point.  Hang on, cotton candy?  Your “Day of Redemption” may yet come to pass.

Currently on the ”Dangerous Food” list – though the nutritionally educated have been after it for decades…

… is wheat.

SASKATCHEWAN WHEAT FARMER:  “Wait! That’s all we do!

What can I tell you? Except start thinking about pinto beans. 

I’m not here to tease “nutritional certitude.”  Although, like economics, but more likely to stick in your teeth, theories on “good and bad” foods seem conspicuously lacking in consensus.

Now, there’s this troubling scuttlebutt about wheat.  (And barley and rye, though I’ll assign wheat the representative “Curly” role for these “Three Stooges” of “questionable comestibles.”)

According to recent carbon testing, hunters and gatherers, for whom wheat was an absent element in their diet…

HUNTER:  “Because we never heard of the stuff.”  


HUNTER:  “I thought you were putting us down.  We get a lot of that, because we stoop.”

I was just saying that because of your entirely wheat-free diets, you guys were nutritionally healthier than your wheat-eating descendants, stronger, avoiding a myriad of illnesses, and you were apparently also a couple of feet taller.  Though not as tall as a dinosaur so what difference does it make?

HUNTER:  “Point taken.”  

GATHERER:  “Tall was better.  We could reach the real high things.  And not wait for giraffes to have stuff fall out of their mouths.”


GATHERER:  “Don’t you just love to be “Anyway-ed”?

Sorry.  Eventually things changed.  For understandable reasons, nomadic “Hunters and Gatherers” transitioned into planting and harvesting “Agrarians.”  


“You do not have to chase wheat.”

“Wheat never lifts you up with its tusks, flinging you violently to the ground.”

“You could stay in one place, receive regular mail deliveries, form civil societies and eventually political organizations, where one day someone would rise to the top, ignoring traditional norms of behavior and flagrantly flaunting the rule of law.  Okay, but mostly, it was good.”

Yes, mostly it was good. It was a sign of anthropological progress, being able to proudly proclaim, “We are a totally ‘Foraging Free’ Community.”  (With the Chevy Chaseian implication, “… and you’re not.”)

The consequent problem was, it is presently argued, that from an “optimal health” perspective,

Wheat’s bad and meat’s better.

MEAT:  “Remember when we were ‘too fatty’?  Man! It’s like this crazy rollercoaster ride!”

(By the way, have they ever studied the effects of these chronically anxious eating alternatives on the people who ultimately consume them?  I put that in brackets, because it may actually be stupid.)

In the end, it comes down to a trade-off.  Would you rather eat brontosaurus and avoid “Leaky Gut Syndrome?”  Or would you prefer a sandwich and take your chances?

My call – as usual:  A reasonable compromise.  

Unlike those who believe there is no such thing as “Good wheat”, I shall continue my consumption, though in regulated doses, and avoiding the “processing.”  

I have enjoyed many a bagel in my day.  I will not turn my back totally on wheat.

SASKATCHEWAN WHEAT FARMER:  “Thanks for the support, eh?  We really appreciate it.”

No problem.  But could you do something for me?


Could you cut down on the negative consequences?


LEM:  “No clue. You ask me, wheat’s great!  And if it knocks a few days off your life, hey, you could choke eating a carrot!”

CARROT:  “Shhhh.”

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