Wednesday, September 20, 2006

No Popeye Jokes Here

As a kid I’d have been ecstatic if the Feds warned everybody that the nation’s entire spinach supply might be contaminated with a deadly bacterium. “I can’t eat this, Mom, it might have e. coli!” Lucky, lucky kids of today, living in an America transformed (if only temporarily) into a spinach-free zone. Fields across the nation are being plowed under and spinach bags removed from supermarket shelves, while elsewhere investigators use DNA to track down the original source of contamination.

Fun fact about e. coli: it lives in the intestinal tracts of animals, and the main way it spreads to new places is via the animal’s poop. The resulting illness is bad enough, and can be fatal when the victim already has a vulnerable immune system or thinks too much about just where their illness originated from.

Terry Jones of Monty Python fame narrated an excellent eight-part documentary called Medieval Lives. That’s where I learned that, since the only fertilizer medieval farmers had was manure, they always boiled their vegetables into slime before eating them. Jones tasted the resulting glop and called it disgusting.

I have no real point here. However, I did have a birthday a couple of days ago so I’m working through some rationalizations about the long-term health implications of my continued vegetable avoidance. I can only tolerate them when they’ve been well-cooked and doused in cream sauce. But suppose I were one of those health-food fanatics who actually eats salads rather than merely picking cucumber slices out of them? The very state where I live had someone come down with e. coli from the contaminated spinach. That could’ve been me!

So I had a steak-and-cheese sandwich for dinner tonight and praised myself for my healthy eating habits.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I learned to like vegetables...

...about ten years after becoming a vegetarian.

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Stevo Darkly said...

Happy belated birthday, Jennifer!

The best spinach I ever had was at a steak restaurant in Kansas City (can't remember the name). It was a creamed spinach with cheese in it, so it tasted mostly like cheese.

I've learned to enjoy some veggies. Baby carrots are good. And I actually like Brussels sprouts (get them fresh and not too big, or get the frozen baby Brussels sprouts in the low-fat butter sauce, I forget if they're Birdseye or Green Giant).

But meat and cheese still taste better.

12:42 AM  
Anonymous Alex said...

I can enjoy spinach in certain dishes. Plain spinach doesn't really do it for me.

I heard (no joke) that the outbreak was traced to spinach from a company called "Natural Selection Foods."

From now on, I'm going for the "Intelligently Designed Spinach", i.e. genetically modified.

5:43 AM  
Blogger rhhardin said...

Leafy romaine is better than All-Bran as to effectiveness, something to remember for future reference.

I haven't eaten meat for years, except sometimes steamed chicken breast (rice cookers rule! steam power for everything) as a treat for the dog.

The Morningstar soy stuff is pretty good, say garden burgers, steak strips (with something, not alone), and bacon strips (if not overnuked; overnuked is death). It drives out the desire for actual meat, so you become vegetarian without even believing in the stuff, like liking bicycle riding might push you to ride a bicycle without being a leftist or a busybody.

The Birdseye frozen spinach is the only worthwhile type; raw has no advantage over anything.

5:45 AM  
Anonymous Brad Warbiany said...

Asians eat a low-fat, low-meat diet, filled with fruits and vegetables, and live longer than Americans.

The French eat a high-fat, high-butter, cream & pastry diet, and live longer than Americans.

So I say eat whatever the F*** you want. It's speaking English that kills ya!

7:40 AM  
Anonymous Brad Warbiany said...

In all seriousness, I'm a huge fan of meat & vegetables, but not so much starches. Give me a nice rib-eye with some asparagus in hollandaise sauce and I'm in heaven. I'll even eat broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts... And cabbage. Mmmm, Cole slaw... Mmmm, sauerkraut...

Good stuff...

7:42 AM  
Anonymous Wild Pegasus said...

However, I did have a birthday a couple of days ago so I’m working through some rationalizations about the long-term health implications of my continued vegetable avoidance. I can only tolerate them when they’ve been well-cooked and doused in cream sauce.

That's a fine way to eat them. The fat in the cream sauce adds digestion and mineral absorption.

Asians eat a low-fat, low-meat diet, filled with fruits and vegetables, and live longer than Americans.

This is a common misconception. Asians eat as much fat as they can afford, and the Okinawans, the longest-lived, eat a lot of pork, and not the lean parts.

- Josh

11:53 AM  
Anonymous NoStar said...

My ten year old daughter loves spinach fresh, canned, or frozen. She loves all the dark green vegetables except brussel sprouts.
She was not happy when I passed on buying fresh spinach for a salad.

Jennifer, Happy birthday. I don't care how old you are. You look damn good for any age.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Thank you all! But I suppose I should eat vegetables more than once or twice a month, from now on.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous smacky said...

Happy Birthday, Jennifer!

I think I may have consumed a bit of that spinach a couple of weeks ago right before the whole news story broke, at an Italian restaurant. The spinach I ate was fresh but cooked, so it didn't make me too sick.

I actually love spinach (I prefer cooked over raw).

10:04 AM  

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