Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A good source of iron

Mills of the gods

As David Letterman said last night, it is a good time to challange Popeye to a fight. In my worry over aviary influenaz I never had time to get concerned about an e-coli breakout in the nation's spinach. I was please to see that the current suspect in this 21 state plauge is an outfit called "Natural Selection". It is my furthere hope, of course, that the culprit divisionin that company turns out to be the one that sells organic vegetables.

Unlike many peple, I like spinach. My mother always fixed it for us, growing up, from the can. My father liberally doused it with vinegar to take away any true spinach taste. Spinach at the Porter dinner table was a lot like eating slimey threads of vinegar. But it tasted pretty good.

The American public,of course, could not leave well enough alone and for about the past 30 years, fresh vegetables, including spinach, have been more popular, I can't even recall how many years it has been since I had canned spinach. This e-coli outbreak is directly caused by our nation's obsession with fresh vegetables and health food. When I was a boy, you got e-coli the old fashioned way. From an undercooked hamburger. Because there were no large fast food chains, the outbreaks were limited. Now, e-coli gets distributed across the country in the time it takes a truck to travel I-10 from California to where ever. So we can actuallty also say that this outbreak would be impossible without the interstate highway system. I am glad to blame that too. I hate the interstate highway system, where you can go from one end of the country to another and not see anything. I don't recall any e-coli outbreaks on old Route 66.

The thing to wonder is how long it will take the spinach industry to recover from all of this ? Spinach, with our without vinegar, has never been the beloved food of childhood. Associating it with drastic kidney failure and death can hardly fail to negativley imprint the young mind for a good many years, perhaps forever. Spinach could well become a "forgotten" or "lost" vegetable in the twenty first century.Much like parsnips were in the second half of the twentieth century. Imagine with me, if you will, a world without spinach. How would it effect your life ? Really not that much. There are lots of other greens. I was never a big fan of the Spinach salad (who thought of putting apples and bacon in it?). There are many ways to get iron. I think we can do without it. Now it might be a bit tougher for Popeye.

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