CHALLENGE NUMBER UNO: Ritchey's hot food entry
Posted on: May 2, 2005 7:00 PM
As many of you already know, there are a very small number (2) of things I love more than food. They are, in no particular order:
1. having all my arms and legs; and
My diet being mostly-vegan (for emotional reasons), my interest in food-related health being high, and my commitment to a heavily eating-based lifestyle being non pareil, you can imagine how excited I was when the new UNITEDSTATES.GOV food pyramid was released in late April. Unlike the old food pyramid which we learned in elementary school, and which I remember being totally baffling ("cereals?") as well as ethically/healthfully suspect (didn't it say you were supposed to eat like four servings of red meat every day? Well, that's the way I remember it. "Memory, Agent Starling, is what I have in place of a view."), the new .GOV sanctioned pyramid is not only aesthetically pleasing (incorporating many different neon-styled colors as well as a clip-art graphic of a multi-gendered person running spryly up it, effectively utilizing the food pyramid as a literal "staircase to health"), but it takes into account many (12) different lifestyle choices. Among these are "morbidly obese" and "light housework."
Until very, very recently, I led an incredibly sedentary lifestyle, thinking that my vegan high horse would carry me over the pitfalls of weight-gain and general body grossness that accompany the traditional American diet of 50 cheeseburgers and a six pack of beer ingested bi-daily.
Imagine my chagrin, then, when I inputed my daily food intake and discovered that the .GOV pyramid believes I ingest many, many fat points over my daily allowance. I was unaware, apparently, that "one (1) avocado" contains your entire day's dose of fat. That can't be right, can it? I added "three tbsp olive oil" to my chart, to see if that made my fat dose higher, but it didn't. However, my "oils" section now read "**." Additionally, there was a frowny face next to my "milk and dairy" section. Hardly surprising, but why a frowny face? Certainly if someone is intelligent enough to logon to the intraweb and downframe the .GOV pyramid webstation to their mainline, they are capable of understanding bar graphs without the help of emoticons.
The pyramid also told me that I eat too many fruits and vegetables.
The moral of the story is this: 20 years, unbelievable advancements in technology, and the creation of a multi-faceted interactive website have rendered the food pyramid just as incomprehensible as before, only now there are no "cereals" on it.
Pretty weak, U.S. Government. If you want people to lose weight, this is probably not the way to do it. Instead, why not try regulating the fast food industry? WHOA! What next, comrade?
Think about it.
Probably I'm being too harsh. At least they're trying. SOMEBODY must do SOMETHING. Do you people even know what's IN hot dogs? Neither do I. And brother, I don't want to.
While perusing the food pyramid, I was reminded of this New Yorker article I read some time ago while I was at the gym, trying to avoid the Fox News which was inexplicably being broadcast above the "arm and legs machine thingy" that I favor.
The article was one of those ha-ha chummy New Yorker pieces written in a sort of self-aggrandizing, mocking tone which I freely admit to using myself quite often. The piece was basically a short, autobiographical article completely and intentionally glorifying gluttony (a subject addressed in the opposite manner by our new food pyramid). The author, a self-described "gourmand," documents his quest to create The Perfect Lunch.
My Perfect Lunch would probably consist of bread, olives, and an avocado. Or, possibly, a really good burrito. I imagine your Perfect Lunch would be similar--maybe a really rad piece of fish, or the greatest pizza ever made. Maybe you want a hamburger and french fries, or your mother's lasagna. Mr. Peterson would say "a sandwich."
Not so the self-styled gourmand. His Perfect Lunch includes but is not limited to a suckling pig with delicate truffles stuffed UNDERNEATH ITS SKIN, and garnished with hundreds of garlic-braised frog legs which are cleverly inserted to create the illusion of spines running down the pig's back.
The quest for the Perfect Lunch ended in a small chateau in France, where The Lunch was cooked by one of the world's most famous chefs and served to a group of 10 or 20 people (men) who had all paid an outrageous sum of money for the honor of being present. The author says something like, "we chuckled when someone told us that for the cost of our lunch, we could each have purchased a Volvo. However, since we did not want a Volvo, we merely wanted lunch, we contented ourselves with the knowledge that having skipped dinner that night, we had recouped our losses."
I thought that was a pretty classy thing to say. If by "classy" you mean "the polar opposite of classy."
The Lunch was somewhere around 20 courses long, and consisted of things like 'baby pig snouts surrounding a creamed souffle made of the blood of fetal elephants' and that awful thing where they stuff a pig with a turkey, and they stuff the turkey with a chicken, and they stuff the chicken with a small rat, and they stuff the rat with a pigeon's egg, and then inside the pigeon's egg is the eyeball of an endangered gorilla or something.
I am not really exaggerating (I am exaggerating). The menu was pretty appalling. Rich people showing off how rich they are, how dissolute, how little they care about anything but tasting the most forbidden of fruits. One is reminded of the Roman royal family eating banquets and having sex while watching slaves run each other through with tritons in delightful holiday spectacles.
"Paolo, bring me the silvered tray of delicately spiced prawn croquets that Lady Haversbaugh'd sent via her maidservant sunday last. They should be topped with prawn emollients of only the finest prawn ink in preparation for mother's tea. And mind you adequately stock my bedchamber! Last night I awoke bruised and disoriented, and found the prawning toureen on my nightstand to be completely dry!" etc.
It seems like food is to these guys what giant pickup trucks are to city-dwelling, Oakleys-wearing men.
I think you know what I'm trying to say.
So, on the one hand, I deride the new food pyramid for being so impenetrable. But on the other hand, the pyramid sees the detriment to gluttony like this--it sees the unholy terror of a life wasted on putting too much crap, or the wrong kind of crap, into your body. Whether it's a terrible diet caused by overabundance, such as in the case of our friend the gourmand, or a terrible diet caused by poverty and poor education, as is the case with so many Americans, I have to give the food pyramid "mad propers" for "keeping it real." They could so easily have fallen prey to the fat cats who run this country (you KNOW George Bush eats him some endangered gorilla eyeball), or to the strangely omnipotent McDonald's Corporation. But they didn't. They didn't say that everyone needs to eat more "blood." They didn't say "support the massive conglomerates that make our nation strong by eating their food-based products no matter how actively harmful they are." They instead show you a healthy way to lose weight and lower your cholesterol in today's godforsaken America, where you can buy that new sandwich at Burger King that is a burger on top of ribs on top of a fried egg on top of six pieces of bacon wrapped around a pound of melted cheddar cheese. And the meat is mostly made of sawdust and old hot dogs. It's not often that a government institution actively tries to help people rather than just devising new ways to shiv them out of their money and turn them into blank, shambling zombies who just want the next O-Town album. And for that, I must commend them. Yes--I must commend the UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT, which, since rural electrification and the passing of Roe v. Wade, has done very little to impress me.
I for one welcome the new food pyramid. It is trying its best. I like to think that we in America will pay attention to it, our lives slowly becoming richer, longer, and more buoyant. Our plight shall no longer be one of needless suffering under the stress of heart problems. For us is not the road paved with sorrow that is eating nothing but chicken wings for breakfast lunch and dinner. For we have been shown a new way. We are not the mindless automatons our persnickety English brethren take us for--nay! We have been given the gift of the New Way and we shall not tarry. This way is colored with many bright neon lights, and we can run up it as though it is a veritable stairway to heaven. If we are wise enough to unlock the code of poor web-stationing that plagues it, I do believe the new food pyramid .GOV could bring us home to glory.
In other news: I just ate an entire loaf of french bread, because I felt like it.
I think I just disproved my own theory.
I know what you're thinking. "Whoa," you're thinking, "she posted first. Such audacity, such chutzpah, such SHEER MAGNIFICENCE."
Well, you'd be right.
If there's one thing you are to know about me in the context of this Blog-em-ups, it is the following:
I AM THE BOSS OF MY OWN DESTINY, AND I AM NOT AFRAID TO BE THE FIRST IN LINE FOR MY FATE.