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Category Archives: Food/Cooking

Lions And Tacos And Farms

Holy. Shit. Did you know there are Lion Farmers?

Meaning, there are dudes who raise lions like cows or something, and then they slaughter them and sell them for meat. Who in the world is up for a little lion meat, you ask? Where are these guys selling their lion chops?

Florida. According to CNN, a Florida Restaurant Sells Lion Tacos.

Sliders 2Are we on Sliders? Is this a parallel universe? I guess I’m baffled – if you’re allowed to eat lion around here, then why hasn’t everyone been chomping down lion for the last few decades? You’d think we’d be breeding big, fat lions and packing them eyeless and toothless into warehouses with retractable roofs. Feeding them dead chickens from the factory egg farms. Something classy, the way we usually roll.

And if we’re not allowed to eat lions, then why is this restaurant selling lion tacos?

The answer – which I thought would be shocking but was instead presented rather blithely – is that yes, you sure can sell lion. And okay, that answers that, go ahead and sell it, go ahead and eat it. I’m not going to start freaking out til I’ve thought it through.

But my knee-jerk reaction is, you’re sort of a dick if you want to eat a lion taco. Let’s test my hypothesis against the rest of the article.

Well, they’re $35. So I think we all know that if Charlie is willing to pay $35 for a taco, then Charlie is sort of a dick. Especially if the basic reason that the taco is $35, is that we’re running out of the animal in it.

See, they are listed as “threatened” and not “endangered.” That’s why it’s cool to make tacos out of them. Ah – the system works, yes?

Ron SwansonI don’t know why it bugs me so much. We eat a lot of animals up in here, yes we do. And pigs are smart, for example – see Charlotte’s Web – and we eat them like they’re made of bacon. Why am I cool with eating pigs and not cool with eating lions?

Good question. I’m going to drink this beer and blog about it for a bit, and then maybe I’ll be able to tell you.

But apparently there’s an animal rights organization called Born Free USA which “embarked on an undercover investigation into the lion meat trade in 2011.” They’re pretty freaking sure you shouldn’t be eating lions

Ugh. That description I belted out a few paragraphs ago about how we’d handle legalized lion meat? Sounds like I was on the money. Here’s the day-ruining link for you. Born Free is currently engaged in talking the government into reclassifying lions as “endangered,” at which point you will no longer be allowed to eat lion tacos.

CNN interviews a guy who’s just eaten a lion taco, and sure enough, as I predicted, his name suggests he’s kind of a dick, just as much as his taco selection:

“I thought the lion was good,” said patron Lee Weiner. “It didn’t taste too gamey to me, similar to steak.”

Lion KingYeah. Not too gamey. Hey, that’s great. Every time I see one of these majestic creatures, that’s what I think. Proud, strong, graceful, deadly, probably not too gamey to eat on a taco.

By the way, would you like to know what else you can have on a taco that’s similar to steak, and costs a lot less? If you send me $35, Mister Weiner, I will be happy to tell you. Depending on how many tacos you eat, the information could easily pay for itself in a single day. Give me a ring-ding.

But again, time to look in the mirror. Let me just type as many animals as I can think of in one minute, that I’ve eaten over the years in non-survival situations:

Cow, lamb, goat, chicken, pheasant, turtle, pig, fish, lobster, deer, elk, bear, crawfish, alligator, bison, duck, quail, ostrich, rattlesnake, oyster, squirrel, rabbit

For crying out loud. I think I’ve lost my whole train of thought here. What was I talking about? Climbing up this total stranger’s ass because he ate an animal that wasn’t on my list?

Well, he did spend $35 on it, and his name is “Weiner,” so I’m not going to beat myself up all day. But yes, I wonder what possible moral criteria I might be using to determine which animals are okay to enslave and then eat. The answer appears to be, whichever ones cross my path.

The JerkHuh. So, I’m kind of a dick and the only reason I’m not eating a lion taco is because I’m a cheapskate and I’m not in Florida. I really thought this blog post was heading somewhere else, I’ll be honest with you. How bout that?

Anyway, it seems clear that the only way you’re going to get jackasses like me and Mister Weiner to not eat lion meat is to assist Born Free in their attempt to get lions officially reclassified as “endangered.”

How can you do that, you ask? By eating as many lions as possible. The problem is that they aren’t endangered enough yet. We need to really go to town on them, knock those numbers down.

No, not really. That’s dumb. Don’t listen to me, listen to Born Free. Here’s their link, in case you’d like to help them in their cause.

 

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Rise Of The Bacon Hipster

hipsterThe awesome thing about hipsters is that none of them will admit they are hipsters, so they can’t get directly mad at you for piling on them.

Usually though, they’ll register a sort of general lack of approval at the word itself. Psssh – I don’t like the word hipster, and not because I’m worried I might be wearing the label around my neck, but because the word itself is so frequently misused to describe someone who likes art and microbrew beer and very, very Specific Kinds Of Everything.

Yes – that’s hipsters all right, and yes, we’re talking to you. Rolling your eyes right now? Then yes, you, too.

They’re easy targets, this crowd that’s so weirdly proud of their inability to enjoy anything that isn’t exactly, perfectly, politically, aesthetically the way they want it. The only reason we’re not like them, is we’re too dim to understand what we’re missing.

Then there’s bacon, which has been enjoying a recent surge in popularity as people so frequently, so publicly express their love for it. You see people belting it out online all the time – I Love Bacon!

Memes, posters, Bacon-flavored vodka. The Baconator. Obnoxious radio commercials. After a while, you get a little sick of hearing about it – yes, I love bacon, too. Settle down.

nihilists2It’s a sort of nihilism, it seems to me. We all know bacon is bad for you, and so barking out our love for it is like saying, “I don’t care how bad it is. I live dangerously. I eat it anyway without guilt or remorse.”

Really, if you’re planning to use your body for something later that morning, bacon’s not that bad. But most people aren’t. Just bacon and naps and beer and cake. Nihilism.

Which is perhaps at the root of what I find so irritating about this Bacon Hipster Article – Bacon Mistakes To Avoid: How To Cook Bacon.

In it, we learn that while we are so much in the throes of nihilism that we’re cranking down bacon and shouting about it from the rooftops, we are actually doing it wrong. Why, you ask? By whose standards?

The Bacon Hipsters over at HuffPost Taste, that’s whose!

Let me just walk you through their obnoxious little lecture about how much the rest of us suck at cooking bacon.

1 – We’re cooking it cold, the Hipsters tell us. Then a little mini-lecture in which they rephrase that in unnecessary mini-lecture format. Guess what happens the first few minutes its in the pan? Yes, it stops being cold. Not good enough, the Bacon Hipsters tell us. Huh. Well why do we like bacon if we’ve been cooking it too cold? Psssh. The Bacon Hipsters can only imagine.

2- Don’t start the bacon off in a hot pan. I mean, okay – I wasn’t doing that anyway, I just never considered it to be a stroke of genius on my part. But just because I don’t like this article, I went ahead and tried it last weekend. Cold bacon, hot pan. Excellent bacon, everyone agreed. Maybe bacon is not quite like fine French wine – who knows?

3 – Don’t crowd the bacon, they insist. Which is great, unless I’m making bacon for ten people and I don’t have six skillets to work in. When you make a lot of bacon at once, you have to move it around a lot. Pay attention to it. Sure, it’s easier if you’re making six slices of bacon and you have room to cook it like grilled cheese sandwiches. Quite a mess for six mouthfuls, but sure.

I make the shit by the pound, but by all means – proceed with your soul-soothing, meditative fly-fisherman approach, Bacon Hipsters.

irritating4 – Then they weirdly tell us not to pile the bacon on top of other bacon. Yes, that would be number three again. Are you guys serious? There’s nothing magical about seven, just make it six rules, Hipsters. That’s a blogging tip for you, Mistakes You’re Making Blogging About Bacon.

5 – Buying cheap, thin, sad bacon – here they tell us all about how we should buy better bacon and it will be better. No shit, dudes. Ya think? Thanks. “Once you’ve had quality bacon, you’ll never blah, blah, blah,” they tell us. Actually, no, that’s just you, being a whiny little princess about your bacon, sir. You and I differ, it seems, on how grown men approach their breakfasts.

6 – Another pro tip – don’t burn it. Really? My goodness, thank God you showed up, Bacon Hipsters! Down here among the Morlocks, that never occurred to us. Say, isn’t that true about ANYTHING you cook?

7 – Throwing out the bacon fat – they actually refer to this as a “cardinal sin,” which is another Hipsterism – mistaking yourself for the Pope of something. We should feel ashamed of not keeping the fat, even if we think it’s gross, even if we figure we got enough bacon fat eating our bacon. Even if we don’t feel like cooking artichokes in it later, or whatever they’re talking about in Bacon Princess Land here.

Sure, you can use the fat – I used to put it on my cat’s food when he started getting skinny. Or you can throw it out, because You Bought The Bacon, And You Can Do Whatever The Hell You Want With It. See how that works?

These are the folks sitting around smelling their beers and then talking about walnuts and raspberries and shit. Please, tell us more, Bacon Hipsters! I wish to walk among the upper echelons of Bacon Artistry and be known amongst your peers as an equal. Where might I find a suitable stick to insert into my butt about it? Perhaps a handmade stick made locally out of organic walnut bark

The inherent problem is right there at the beginning of the article:

“Most of us have a pretty good idea of how to cook bacon. But we want great bacon. We all deserve great bacon. Let’s all agree to stop making these mistakes when we make bacon.”

Why on Earth do we need to all agree? Even if I’m just a complete moron when it comes to bacon, why does that matter to anyone else? Why does it matter to the Bacon Hipsters? Is my dumbass bacon somehow affecting these people, bothering them somehow? Lowering the metaphysical Bacon Bar of society?

Why don’t we instead all agree to mind our own business, worry about our own bacon, and stop it with the condescending, unsolicited bacon-cooking advice? How’s that sound, Bacon Hipsters?

Damn.

 

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Defenders Of The Glomp (II)

Everyone’s always piling on McDonald’s, just cause they suck and their food’s gross.  Don’t you remember the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?  If the Earth were destroyed, you’d miss the Quarter Pounder.  Your head would practically explode just getting your mind around the idea that you couldn’t get one.

No, probably not, but it was funny at the time, because I think that was when McDonald’s was serving actual food.  That they just slowly over the years switched over to the multi-colored gristle paste sculptures they serve now.

But how much McDonald’s sucks isn’t the point.  McDonald’s is something we’ve eaten all our lives, so if someone’s attacking it then they’re attacking us and our parents for allowing such a thing, and so we rush to defend McDonald’s.  Oh, no, it’s the Thought Police here to tell us what to eat!

Because nothing breaks one’s heart quite like watching a multinational food paste distribution behemoth get picked on by individual Americans who aren’t even available in nugget form on Wall Street. 

Damn it – would you citizens with your insipid quandaries and needs, please stop bothering the planet-spanning, inhuman entity that is busy crapping the withered husks of locally owned restaurants into our water supply and pumping poison into every aspect of our society, including our veins?  His name is McDonald’s and he’s our friend and friends stick together! 

Like when someone files a lawsuit asking them to stop beaming psychotic episodes of a clown into her children’s brains, a clown cackling and shrieking “Tell your mom to buy McDonald’s!  Go tell her right now!  Tell her again or I’ll eat your soul!!  AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH-HAHAHAHAHAHAH!”

Or something like that, I forget her exact words.  It was in a lawsuit, so now that I think about it, she was probably a little more subdued and objective in her wording.  Legalese, they call it.

Anyway, we all piled on her right away.  Why don’t you just turn off your wall-mounted hypnotic beam generator or learn to tell your hypnotized kids “no,” over and over and over again?  You’re a lazy parent – LAZY!

Then we all chanted “Lazy Crazy Parent Lady” over and over, and the daytime talk show audience went, “Woooooooooooooo!”  And then the lawsuit lady was gone, and we all slapped each other five.

Yep, we agreed.  Just another handwringer, who couldn’t wait to engage in a baseless legal battle against an unholy army of undead Fast Food Chain Attorneys, because that’s such an easy way to make a buck.  Sounds like a lark, she figured – same old story.

Then we moved on, happy and confident and proud to have defended the many-tentacled Global Infinity Glomp Excretor and it’s right to wear a fucking clown mask and lie to our kids.  Hooray for freedom!

Now, here we go again.  Here we have a story by Mike Adams over at Naturalnews.com, entitled Why McDonald’s Happy Meal hamburgers won’t decompose – the real story behind the story.

In it, hear more and more about the hamburgers which won’t decompose.  Apparently, if you put a McDonald’s hamburger in an aquarium or something, and just leave it there, it doesn’t decompose.  Which my first thought is, well yeah, but if you eat it like you’re supposed to, then you don’t have that problem.

But no, I don’t think that’s his point.  The article is quite long so I don’t want to oversimplify it – go on over and read it – but he seems to sum himself up with this quote (it’s even in boldface!):

There is only one species on planet Earth that’s stupid enough to think a McDonald’s hamburger is food.”

And man, they really seem to want me to put the link up for that quote, cause the link followed it over when I cut and pasted it, but I didn’t like how it looked as a big silly link so it’s right here.  Isn’t that more aesthetically pleasing?

Anyway, I agree with most of what Adams says – McDonald’s is really, really disgusting, and it doesn’t seem even close to natural, and I even agree with the part at the end about how you have to be stupid to eat it.  I know that’s when I’m always cranking down McDonald’s – when I’m drunk or hungover.  Right about Stupid Thirty.

But I have to get out of my chair, when he says that no other animal will eat McDonald’s.  That’s a bald-faced lie, sir.  I can think of three examples right away:

  1. Pigs.  As you may have learned from the movie Snatch, or from a certain Etsy-related Facebook Friend Brainstorming Session regarding what to do about people who smoke right under your window, pigs will eat practically everything except teeth.  That means they’ll eat other pigs (but not their teeth), and you (but not your teeth), and if you dumped a couple of McDonald’s hamburgers in front of one of them, the only thing left in just a few minutes would be some cow teeth.  Take that, Nature Man.
  2. Sparrows.  The sparrows at the OSU McDonalds most certainly do recognize McDonald’s as food.  They’ll eat fries or bits of bun or even chicken nuggets, oh yes, they surely will.  And you’d better give them some, because they’re pretty aggressive about it and they can shoot lasers out of their eyes.  That’s not just natural – it’s supernatural.  Strike two, Adams.
  3. Every Dog I’ve ever had.  One time my brother and I and a dog named Zoey drove from Denver to Columbus, although in truth the dog didn’t do much driving, and we forgot to bring dog food.  So when we went through a drive thru, we’d get an extra cheeseburger and fries – here you go, Zoey.  Zoey said, nom, nom, nom – thanks dudes!  And I have a story like that for every one of the sixty-one dogs I’ve ever had, most of whom of course died instantly – but they ate the food, see.  Strike three.

Now, I’m sorry that I had to be so rough on you, Mister I Hate McDonald’s, but it’s the principle of the matter.  Bullying is bullying, and even more so when it’s a poor, defenseless, multinational corporation you’re pushing around.  Why don’t you go get ten billion dollars then come back and pick on someone your own size?

What you need to do is go on back to your room and think about what you’ve written, sir, and when you’re ready to apologize to McDonald’s and me and my brother and my army of happy little McDonalds-eating ghost dogs, you can come on out. 

It’s time you learned that cackling, soul-eating clowns have feelings, too, Mister – because Words Matter.

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Earlier:  Defenders of the Glomp
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And: The Way of McCheese
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And:  Jeanne Moos, Taco Bell, and the Fine Art of Media Prostitution

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 2, 2011 in Food/Cooking, News/Commentary

 

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Horrific Meat-Eating Machines Or Lovable Singing Teapots?

“I know,” said artist James Auger.  “Let’s build a clock that catches flies by itself and then converts them to bioelectrical energy.”

“Good idea,” said his pal Jimmy Loizeau.  “A machine that eats meat to sustain itself.  I can’t think of any way that could come back to bite any entire races of people in the ass.  Let’s get to work!”

Fortunately or unfortunately, they knew an eccentric scientist (I’m admittedly assuming the eccentricity, go figure) – their pal Professor Chris Melhuish, who was a roboticist.  They said, “Hey, man, you want to help us construct a monstrosity?  We have beer!”

And I guess none of them had wives or their wives weren’t around, because they went down to their lab and did exactly that.  Behold, a clock which runs on electricity derived from the bodies of the flies it captures:

These guys are artists, not mad scientists, so don’t worry about a thing.  Nobody’s going to build an unholy army of anything and nothing’s going to grow out of control and turn on its creators.  If we all stopped building horrific devices every time a bunch of busybodies started wringing their hands and whining about outrages against God, then we never would have built the atomic bomb.

Where would we be then, you bunch of squares?  Just get out of the way of progress and don’t stick your fingers in the clock, all right?  Easy peasy.

It’s not like anyone’s talking about real robots, roaming around eating living creatures.  Oh, wait.  If you watch the video, that’s exactly where they’re hoping to go with this.  Try to imagine say, a roaming vacuum cleaner that powers itself on spiders and dust mites and sure, flies.

But do yourself a favor and don’t try to imagine what happens when the house is 100% clean of all of those things.  Most likely, the vacuum cleaner will simply grab a cold one, and then watch the basketball game with you, right?

For now, it’s just a clock, and there’s not a clock on Earth big enough to eat a human being.  Well, actually lots of clocks are that big, but as long as they can’t chase you around, you’ll probably be fine.  If you go to London, and Big Ben tells you to come inside for a second because he made you a sandwich, well make up your mind for yourself – you’re an adult, right?

Nothing to worry about from clocks as long as you keep your wits about you. 

Now, I’m just going to interrupt myself for a second here, and I apologize, don’t mean to intrude, but are you pretty creeped out right about now?  Because if you are, I think you should stop reading and go on back to living in your magical dreamworld where nobody is teaching machines to hunt and eat meat.

Because here’s a lamp.  The cool thing about a lamp powered by bugs is that moths are attracted to the light, and moths are bugs.  It might very well be the first perpetual motion machine, except it doesn’t move, which now that I think about it invalidates this entire sentence.  Damn it.

Also, I just read their blog a little, and the lamp eats flies, not moths.  Well I guess that’s why I’m a blogger and they’re Meat Lamp Artists.

But whatever – it’s the first lamp I’ve ever heard of which catches bugs and eats them and converts them to electrical energy, and it doesn’t remind me of the nightmare future world from The Matrix at all.  I don’t even know why you brought that up – kind of obtuse, frankly.  Don’t you know art when you see it, you slack-jawed hillbilly?

All right, I’m sorry about that.  If it makes you feel any better, I’m a pretty serious hillbilly myself.  I’m blogging barefoot right now, for example, and I’m playing the banjo.

Let’s move on to something a little creepier, shall we?  Like this mouse-powered table:

There’s a video, too, if you’re interested in watching a mouse get decapitated by a robotic table, which I’m assuming you’re not.  But the video also goes into the technical side of the microbial fuel cell, in case you want to build your own and maybe stick it on your lawn mower or your refrigerator, see what happens.

And I know that you may be thinking, mouse-powered table?  Tom, I was unaware that tables needed to be powered by anything at all.  Most of the tables I have encountered just sit there, made of wood, and you put things on them, but you don’t plug them into anything.

But that’s only if you don’t want your table to lure mice into its hollow legs and then motivate them to stick their heads through a little hole at the top, where the table then chops their little heads off.  That’s a pretty energetic table and it needs a steady diet of mouse heads to keep running nice and smooth.

You want to change the cheese out every three months, or every twelve mice, just like the oil in your car.

The table is something I can really get behind, as someone who works in the mortgage industry.  I’m thinking, how about an enormous conference table powered by loan officers and real estate agents?  Once we build the larger, selectively man-eating table we could then all simply agree to never expand its diet to any other kind of people, just the two.   Problem solved.

All we have to do is draw the line.  One thing I’ve learned about human beings is they don’t normally go trampling recklessly over lines just for the sheer hell of it.  We’ll just make Asimov-style rules for our new carnivorous household furniture.  No eating anybody except loan officers and real estate agents.  Maybe mimes and Jehova’s Witnesses and convicted rapists and Glenn Beck.  That’s totally it, unless we get all liquored up and decide something else, but that probably won’t happen.  We’re pretty careful.

It’s all about how you approach our new household friends.  Your attitudes and perceptions are your own.  So sure, you might find out about ordinary objects which eat meat and you might instantly think of The Matrix and The Terminator.

 

Or if you weren’t such a Negative Nelly, then you might think of them as lovable childhood pals.  Do you see that second one from the left up there?  It’s a clock and it has a mouth.  The mouth means it eats, but it also talks and laughs and sings.  I mean, I don’t think you should go screwing around with those four guys up there, but it really seems to me that if you don’t start anything, there won’t BE anything.

Still, be reasonable.  You want those guys to sing you songs and dance around but you can’t toss ’em a chicken wing once in a while?  Look inward, man – who’s the real monster here?

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 12, 2011 in Food/Cooking, News/Commentary

 

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Jeanne Moos, Taco Bell, And The Fine Art Of Media Prostitution

Just in case my last post about Taco Bell didn’t make you want to barf quite enough, CNN’s Jeanne Moos decided to ratchet up the Disgusting Factor by forgetting any kind of responsibility toward objective news reporting and instead leaping to her feet to service Taco Bell’s image, exactly like a lunatic hooker when her favorite John walks in.

Oh, yes, I know – that’s harsh isn’t it?  For the love of God, watch this video A Beef With Taco Bell, which features Moos in what I guess is an attempt to be funny.  The two main problems of course – it’s not funny, and she’s not a comedian anyway.

See, this is a story about allegations that Taco Bell serves hideously low quality meat products to millions of people.  It’s not a rumor or an urban legend, it’s a lawsuit filed by a former manager of a Taco Bell through an Alabama law firm. 

I can’t think of any reason for CNN to file this story in the “Off Beat” category – it’s actually very straightforward, and it’s about something that affects millions of consumers – unless CNN wants to help out its BFF Taco Bell with their new PR problem.

I also can’t think of any reason for this story to have a wacky tone.  You practically expect kazoo music as Moos starts audibly rolling her eyes within the first few seconds. 

“Looks like beef,” says Moos in voiceover, as we are treated to a close-up of either a Taco Bell product or veterinary surgery.  “But doesn’t this story ‘ring a bell?'”

Then they show us a clip of the old, crazy popular Where’s The Beef commercials for Wendy’s.  “They used to say it about hamburgers,” Moos continues.  “Now they’re saying it about Taco Bell.”

Except of course, the Wendy’s commercials involved surreal fictional characters commenting on the size of the hamburgers served at Wendy’s competitors, whereas we are currently talking about lawyers and scientists and former Taco Bell employees in the real, non-fictional world – and they’re saying it shouldn’t be called “beef” at all. 

But that’s her tone – Here We Go Again – as if this is just one of many times in a tiresome cycle of restaurants getting accused of serving food that maybe, legally, should not be classified as food.  Ho, ho, ho, it’s like the old hilarious Wendy’s commercials, remember those?

No.  It’s not like the old hilarious Wendy’s commercials.  Not even a little bit.  You know, since it’s not hilarious, it’s not old, it’s not Wendy’s, and it’s a lawsuit, not a freaking commercial. 

And just in case you don’t think that Jeanne Moos is here to give Taco Bell’s image a non-therapeutic massage, the next thing she does is slap down an actual bag of Taco Bell on her desk and then starts stuffing it into her face hole as she interviews the attorney handling the lawsuit over the phone.

It’s gross.  Plain and simple.  She’s not a particularly healthy-looking person anyway, so watching her eat Possible Dog Food, really close up?  Well, seriously, go ahead and look if you dare.  Might want to grab a bucket or a trash can or something, maybe a glass of water, because once you watch it, you won’t be able to unwatch it.  Probably want to clear off your morning.

But listen, I’m not just disgusted by watching this “news reporter” eat garbage at her desk – although it is most certainly disgusting.  No, I’m disgusted because it’s so obviously slanted.  Why is she assuming that this lawsuit has no merit?

That’s the message we’re supposed to get – why else would she sit there crunching down Taco Bell while she’s asking the lawyer “So what do you hope to accomplish with this lawsuit?”  The clear message is that she doesn’t believe or care what the person she’s interviewing says.

Then she tells us that the law firm took a Taco Bell product to a lab and found that the meat mixture was less than 35% meat, “instead of what they say is the 70% required by the FDA.”

Right after that, she says into the phone, “It tastes good!  Sorry, my mouth is full.”

Yes, we can see and hear you, Jeanne.  You look and sound like a some kind of mutant hog monster.

I know – I’m being really mean.  But again – aren’t you supposed to be a reporter?  So why do you have to rely on “what they say” about the FDA requirements?  Do you think you could stop shoveling crap into your face for a second and do a little research on your story? 

Perhaps then you could confirm that yes, it’s not just what “they say.”  It’s in fact what the USDA requires.  And that no, that bag of slop Taco Bell sent you as a prop for your PR story, it doesn’t even come close.

Why would you bother doing a news story about this at all, if you aren’t actually going to present the facts in anything approaching an objective manner?  The answer is of course that this isn’t a news story, it’s a commercial for Taco Bell.  We even get Taco Bell’s response blasted across the screen in big letters:  “We start with 100% USDA-approved beef.”

Yes, we know, Taco Bell.  Do you think we can’t see the word “start” in there?

If I take a bucket of 100% USDA-approved beef, and then take a crap in it and mix it around and make Meat/Craploaf out of it, can you see how both you and I started with 100% USDA-approved beef?  Isn’t it suspicious when your official statement does not even technically dispute the lawsuit you’re responding to?

If a responsible reporter were handling this story and not say, a metaphorical prostitute with an eating disorder, then that would have been the next question.  Say, Taco Bell, once you get started, what do you do next?  And what meaty percentage would you assign to say, I don’t know, the actual finished product that gets put in front of your customers when they order your goddamn food?

Since that’s the whole point of the lawsuit, and since that’s supposed to be the whole point of the story.  Let me go ahead and help you out – perhaps they simply use a really generous definition of “seasoning.”  Perhaps the Taco Meat Filling is 35% meat, and 65% “seasoning.”  And then let me guess – practically any batshit crazy substance or chemical qualifies as a “seasoning?” 

What do you want to bet that’s their defense, when you boil it all down?  Well, until an actual reporter gets on the case, I guess there’s no way to know, huh? 

What CNN and Jeanne Moos have chosen to give us instead is not even a cursory, thinly veiled attempt to present the facts in this story about a lawsuit against a giant corporation.  It’s spin, right there on the news, and it certainly seems designed to convince a swath of the population that the lawsuit against Taco Bell has no merit. And her two main sources?  Taco Bell and her own gaping mouth. 

Congratulations, CNN and Jeanne Moos – you just made me more nauseous than any kind Horsey Dorsey Organ Paste Product ever could have.  Go ahead and grab a twenty spot out of Taco Bell’s wallet on your way out of the motel room, for cab fare. 

You’ve definitely earned it.

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Earlier:  Me And Taco Bell Are Here To Ruin Your Day

And:  Defenders of the Glomp

 

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Me And Taco Bell Are Here To Ruin Your Day

I once knew a guy who worked for a dog food company.  I’m not going to tell you any more about him or the company because I don’t want to get him in trouble.  But here’s what he told me – that his dog food company gets their meat from the same company Taco Bell does.

Friend of a friend.  Take it with a grain of salt, I can’t prove it or anything, just something a guy told me.

I said well there are two ways to look at that.  Either eating Taco Bell is really close to eating dog food, or those are some of the luckiest puppy dogs in the world.  They get Taco Bell.

But then take a look at this article, which my brother uncovered quite by accident during his investigation last week of a jewel heist at the Governor’s mansion.  (He got it wrapped up pretty fast so you probably didn’t hear about it.)

Or don’t take a look at it, because I’m going to summarize it now.  It’s about a class action lawsuit filed against Taco Bell in which we learn about a disturbing new meat classification:  Taco Meat Filling.

Apparently, there is a pretty big difference between ground beef and Taco Meat Filling.  Ground beef must have no more than 30% fat in it.  So that’s you going to the store, buying the cheapest hamburger possible.  It’s not really worth it because when you cook it up it shrinks so much, but okay, cheap hamburger isn’t very scary.

But Taco Meat Filling indicates only that the product is 40% meat.  I’m not trying to insult you, but that’s less than half.  What’s the rest of it?

Well, they’re called “extenders.”  Isn’t that a nice name?  They extend the meat.   Mmmmmm.

You know, things like”Isolated Oat Product,” wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodrextrin, anti-dusting agents, autolyzed yeast extract, modified corn starch and sodium phosphate.  And although it’s not on the list, I’m going to guess bugs and turds.  I know, it doesn’t seem like responsible journalism does it?

Well, it’s not.  But what the fire truck is going on around here?  Was my grandpa right all along?  Has this whole world gone to Hell in a handbasket?  Why in the name of Oprah Winfrey are they allowed to sell dog food and floor sweepings at an American restaurant for human freaking beings?

I’m afraid it gets a little worse.  The lawsuit doesn’t seek damages I don’t think (you can read it right here if you’re into that sort of thing), but instead only to compel Taco Bell to stop labeling it’s Horsey Dorsey Organ Paste as ground beef .  According to the complaint, “Taco Meat Filling” would actually be a nice, charitable thing to let them call it, because their current product is only 36% meat.

That’s correct – it actually fails to meet the motherscratching minimum requirements to be called Taco Meat Filling.

It’s substandard Taco Meat Filling.  If they will agree to call Taco Meat Filling, they’ll still be sort of getting over. 

But don’t worry, Taco Bell released a statement saying, we take pride in our product, you guys are a bunch of slack-jawed hillbillies, shut up and eat your tacos you ungrateful morons, etc, etc, etc. (Not really, here’s their actual statement)

And okay, let me just calm down a second.  Now that I’ve coughed up that little hairball, I think maybe it’s time to admit to ourselves that we knew this all along.  I don’t think I’ve ever gone to Taco Bell with the impression that I was getting good quality food.

As a matter of fact, it’s usually eaten in the course of behaving exactly like a dog – you know, you run around all night sniffing everybody’s butt and peeing in the street, then you roll through Taco Bell for some dog food.  Take it to the park and eat it in the bushes, get some sleep.

I never had any illusions that Taco Bell was a reasonable thing to eat, but I think it’s pretty obvious I’ve been shielding my own psyche from things like this.  Why else would I ignore a dog food guy who says Taco Bell buys dog food ingredients?  Why else would I refuse to look at my chili cheese burrito when I’m cranking it down?

A few years back there was an E coli scare within the Taco Bell chain.  Five or six people got six from what I guess you would call Infected, Substandard Taco Meat Filling.  And then that night I saw on the news they were interviewing a giant man who was sitting in Taco Bell with a skit-worthy heap of colorful dog food products in front of him, talking with his mouth full.

“Well, you’ve got to live your life,” he pointed out.

I think if you were keeping score, that was the most puzzled facial expression I had on in 2006.  I mean, he was right about the odds – five or six out of five or six million Taco Bell  patrons isn’t too bad.  You take a risk every time you wake up, cross the street, or stick your face in the fan.

But it’s a curious American definition of “living your life” isn’t it?  Eating dog food even though so many people have heard it might be diseased that a reporter is standing there asking you why you’re doing it?

Well, screw it.  Eat whatever you want – what do I care?  I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Unsolicited Food Morality Lecture.  Tune in tomorrow, when I’ll go into what kind of clothes you should wear and the manner in which I think you should blow your own nose – because I’m a blogger and it’s some of my business.

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Later:  Jeanne Moos, Taco Bell And The Fine Art of Media Prostitution
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Earlier:  Defenders of the Glomp

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And:  It’s Okay To Eat The Chicken Nugget Paste
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And:  Is My Breakfast Bothering You?

 

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Things I Would Appreciate

That’s something I get asked a lot – Tom, is there anything I could do to make the world a better place for you?

Well, sure, that’s a great question.  If someone is reading this blog out loud to you, then you might want to get out a pencil and jot down some notes, because there are in fact plenty of things you could do that I would appreciate, and if everyone pitches in just a little, then I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how happy and productive I become.

For example.  Fried chicken or cupcakes.  I mean, I’m not saying you need to knock both of those things out and drive them over or anything, that would be kind of presumptuous of me.

No, just pick whichever one you are really good at.  My friend Sarah for instance – TWO fried chicken dinners last year.  Two of them.  Look yourself in the eye, blogosphere – have you been sitting around talking about how much Tom deserves a homemade, buttermilk fried chicken dinner, or have you gotten up off your can and done something about it?

And if you’re not very good at frying chicken, or if you have never done it and are concerned about handing me a plate of substandard chicken (a solid concern, which I appreciate in and of itself), then you could always do what my friend and coworker Julie does – you could make a different sort of gourmet cupcake every day or so, and then bring me four of them.

Yes, I know.  You might think from my previous post Enormous Cupcakes Are Not The Answer that I am somehow against cupcakes.  Not true.  That post was about obesity in America and cupcakes the size of your head, and I stand by it.  If you want to help America, then don’t make a giant cupcake for every man, woman and child in the country.  Pass out some celery sticks or something, I’ve lost interest in that subject, I don’t know.

But I’m a big fan of shooting off my mouth about what everyone else should or shouldn’t do, and then doing whatever I like, and that goes for cupcakes, too.  Julie understands this.   Why don’t you?

And just to illustrate how thoroughly she understands this, Julie just poked her head into my office (which is of course actually someone else’s office), and said, man, maybe Sarah and I should get together sometime, that way you could have chicken and cupcakes at the same time.  Or even some kind of chicken-flavored cupcake.

That’s nothing short of inspiring, Amish Barn-Raising-Style.  Do you see Julie’s stock going through the roof right now?  See, that could be your stock, but you’re just sitting there, aren’t you?

Anyway, if you don’t know how to make either of those things, then don’t try swinging by Giant Eagle and buying their versions, because you don’t want to insult me, right?  Just message me and I will put you in contact with Sarah or Julie, and I’m sure they can work out a reasonable rate for you, so they can make their own asskicking versions of those things, and then you can be the one who brings them by.

I would certainly appreciate it, and thanks again for asking.

Aside from that, I guess there are a few other things I would appreciate.  Like I guess if Wendy’s wanted to stop bragging about their “natural cut” fries with “sea salt” then I’d probably feel a lot better.  It just seems like they’re trying to imply that their fries are somehow healthy and holistic.

What does that even mean?  Who in their right mind would give a shit about the manner in which you cut your super processed food item right before you drop it into a vat of boiling fat?  I know that all you mean is, you’re not going to peel them. 

In fact, Wendy’s, go ahead and stop showing commercials period.  You are a multi-billion dollar disgrace to the memory of possibly the greatest American to ever live besides Colonel Sanders himself.  My memories of what Wendy’s used to be are a precious childhood memory, and every time I buy something from you now, it’s like the toddler zombie from Pet Sematary comes horrifically dancing out the drive thru window at me and throws whatever I ordered in my face.

See, now I’m getting all worked up and losing my whole train of thought.  That’s what happens, I’ve been trying to tell you.

Okay, what else?  Well, I guess if we could all stop conducting our political discussions like we’re on the old Less Filling/Tastes Great commercials for Miller Lite, I’d probably appreciate that.  And if we could also stop defending our Less Filling/Tastes Great arguments with variations of the old He Started It Defense, that’d be great, too.

Also, I know someone is buying those pajama jeans, so if it’s you, either stop it or buy enough for the rest of us.  Tom like jeans.  Tom likes pajamas.  Quit being so selfish.

And speaking of selfish, it also bothers me when people bother people I know.  Like as my friend Moira pointed out the other day, I know a LOT of bartenders.  None of them like it when you stand there doing a perky little skit about what kind of drink you might like to have and whether or not it goes with your purse.  If you don’t know what you want from my bartender friends yet, then close your mouth and think it through before you call them over to you.  They are very, very busy (possibly because of me).

Also, quit telling me how to type and don’t mail me anything because I don’t open my mail and stop putting bumper stickers on your car because NOTHING is permanently clever or funny. And if you’re my neighbor, stop feeding the wrong kind of birds, because my wife sounds like a really angry bird indeed when she’s standing at the window hollering about it.

Also, no more big inflatable Christmas statues in your front yards – I find them crass.

Thanks a bunch.  You can utilize the comment section below as a Cupcake/Fried Chicken sign-up sheet, in case you are worried about batshit bonkers notions like Too Many Cupcakes or Too Much Fried Chicken (I can assure you, I am not). 

To avoid scalping, I’m afraid the sign-up spots will have to be non-transferable.  Void where prohibited.  Blogger is not responsible for injuries incurred while preparing tasty treats for him.  Member FDIC.

 

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