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Did He Just Say “Trichinosis”?

Ham is a tough topic in our house. Ham is tough because, frankly, it comes from a pig.

And until a few days ago, everyone thought all meat came from chicken. I mean, they ate hamburgers, bacon, sausage and the like, but Joseph called hamburgers and steak “black chicken,” and ham was “pink chicken.” I know this sounds a little frighteningly naive coming from an eight-year-old but he was eating, the siblings were eating, why rock the boat?

Well, Edward, never one to eat pork of any kind, finally called a spade a spade and announced that ham was pig.

And that was cool with everyone except somehow that started a lengthy conversation on foodborne illness which progressed, (or digressed, depending on how you look at it), to the point of Googling statistics regarding how many trichinosis cases there are per year in the US (about 12). And learning that wild bear and cougar are other major sources of trichinella infection. And that has led to a heightened interest in all things epidemiological.

(Sometimes when starting to answer questions about topics like this, I think to myself, “Why am I talking about this? This will just come back to haunt me.” And usually it does.)

So H is at Publix with Edward and they approach the meat area where Lee, the “food barker” or demonstrator, is trying to promote a pork tenderloin recipe. Edward sums up this foodborne threat immediately. He turns to a shocked patron reaching for one of these porky morsels and cries out for all to hear, “Lee is undercooking the pork! He doesn’t know about trichinosis! Everyone who tries it is going have worms living in their muscles!”

The scowling Lee begins to shuffle around uncomfortably. (I mean he’s wearing a hairnet and serving pork chunks in the meat aisle of a Publix and now he’s being berated on food safety by what looks like a 4-year-old.)

An elderly lady turns to H and asks in a hushed voice “Did he just say trichinosis?”

“Oh yes, he did,” a proud H replies.

Posted on 10 July '08 by , under "Did He Just Say ?". 4 Comments.

Frog Legs and Ham

“Frog Legs and Ham!  Who would eat that?” Joseph cried out excitedly.  (I mean I heard it in a vague way from the deep recesses of the van but I don’t pay close attention to anything they say back there other than the words “brown,” “fountain” or blood.)  I figured he was mis-reading a sign.

Still something about his tone of voice piqued my interest and I actually turned the van around.  And I’m glad I did:

I find the “dinner seafood” both compelling and troubling: we’re not in a town remotely close to the shore.  I guess scaring up frog legs couldn’t be that hard.  And Ham?  Why not tapas?

(I love the sandbags holding the sign in place.)

This says a great deal about our town, however, and none of it is hopeful.  It’s a town obsessed with the super buffet–preferably the Jumbo Chinese variety.  Portion size is all that counts.  People are not concerned with health ratings, either.  The town squelches out any quirky, ethnic or healthy restaurant that tries to emerge.

Why am I so bitter about our town?  Why do I write about ham so much?

Posted on 30 July '08 by , under Humor/Disconnected Miscellany. 2 Comments.