If the government still allowed DDT to be sprayed on people, would you be sick of hearing about the nuts who kept bringing it up over and over, trying to get the practice stopped? Are you sick of hearing about GMOs? GMOs in our food source is no different from if DDT were still sprayed
Today is national cheese day. Who doesn’t love cheese? It’s on or in everything. What would Olive Garden or Pizza Hut be without cheese? Or Salsa Brava or Chipotle? Or a visit to France? Or Switzerland? Wisconsin? Or your favorite cheese burger place? From the finest Neuchateloise Fondue to Cheez-Whiz, the stuff is everywhere. The only food without cheese that I can think of is from Asia, or India (though Amy’s meals has those really yummy Indian meals with chunks of some cheese in with the spinach). Around the Western side of the world, cheese is ubiquitous.
We even mention it when we want to look good for pictures. “Say cheese” is the standard for English-speaking photo shoots to get the teeth to come together just so, and the corners of the mouth to lift in a pleasant position, to suggest one is most pleased about the situation in which one finds oneself. Of course, this is a new-ish kind of convention. None of the pictures you see of Civil War soldiers or Sod Busters have them saying “cheese.”
Some say the practice started in about the 1940s. No one really knows who started it, but one of the earliest references showed up in 1943 in the Big Spring Herald, a western Texas newspaper. It states, “Now here’s something worth knowing. It’s a formula for smiling when you have your picture taken. It comes from former Ambassador Joseph E. Davies and is guaranteed to make you look pleasant no matter what you’re thinking. Mr. Davies disclosed the formula while having his own picture taken on the set of his ‘Mission to Moscow.’ It’s simple. Just say ‘Cheese.’ It’s an automatic smile. I learned that from a politician,” Mr. Davies chuckled. “An astute politician, a very great politician. But, of course, I cannot tell you who he was…” Some suggest it was Roosevelt who gave him the toothy advice. Ol’ FDR certainly knew how to mug for the camera, so that’s a viable possibility.
Whether you’re eating cheese today, or saying “cheese,” remember it’s a day set aside nationally to celebrate the substance. Enjoy it, and consider sprinkling on an extra portion of parmesan, or zapping that ’dog with an extra dollop of the Whiz.
International Hamburger Day
By its name, “hamburger” would suggest that it is a burger made of ham. But as we all know, though generally made of beef or bison, burgers can be made of many, many things, which generally speaking doesn’t even include ham in its long list. (Unless, of course, you want to include “Spamburgers,” which boasts “…two prime cuts of pork shoulder and ham, perfectly tender, spices, and water, packed in tasty goodness…” or something like that. I know. I’ve been to the SpamFest and the Spam Museum, in Austin, Minnesota. Spam helped win World War II you know. I saw their war dioramas and watched the museum movie. And have you ever had the Spam-kabob? Or Spam pizza? Spam fries? Spam bake? But I digress….)
Anyway, hamburgers come in many varieties. Even we vegetarians have our veggie burgers, our quinoa burgers, black bean burgers, and so on. If you can find a way to hold ingredients together, it can become a burger.
A few years back, my family and I went to a particular burger place and ordered dinner. Fortunately, this particular place had “veggie” burgers available, so after discussing it at length with our server to determine what kind of veggie burger they used (there is one I avoid because of allergies) I ordered one. When our plates were delivered, I took a bite—and froze! I did not have vegetables in my mouth. I could tell. I grabbed a napkin and spit it out, horrified that I’d just taken a bite of flesh (that’s how we vegetarians perceive it, since well, that’s what it is. Carnivores have different, more palatable names for it, which I can understand since you want it to be, well, more palatable, because you’re putting it in your mouth and chewing it and swallowing it and everything). I called the server over and opened my bun and showed her the meat burger on my plate. “I didn’t get a veggie burger,” I said. “This is meat.” She was impatient with me, miffed that I would bother her. “Well, what do you want me to do about it?” “I can’t eat this,” I said. “I don’t eat meat.” She reluctantly took away the plate. “Well, pick something else then.” I couldn’t even think of eating after that. I settled on a salad or something, which she didn’t bring until the rest of the family had finished their dinner, so all-in-all it was a failed experience of dining out, which was really sad since we got to go out about once every three months.
So bothered by the lack of care I was shown, I wrote to the corporate office and tried to explain how upsetting the ordeal was. The best I could do was paint a picture for Mr. President as if he himself were sitting at his table, enjoying the company of family and friends, and bit into his burger and found something odd, so inquired from his server and learned that he’d just taken a bite of Border Collie, or German Shepherd. I hoped that would convey my distress to him.
Apparently he got it. He sent his apologies. With several coupons to the same restaurant to have some more veggie burgers.
So on this international day of hamburgers, and this Memorial Weekend when grills are fired up all over the nation, maybe try something new, a unique burger you haven’t had before (a plethora of ideas is on the Spam website). Enjoy your loved-ones, have a tasty meal, pause for a time of remembrance for those who have lost their lives in service, and have a safe and meaningful weekend together.
And I mean it. Check out the Spam ideas, say, one with Bacon. How can that miss?
Goals that are unrealistic or too big, or are just simply too overwhelming, aren’t going to get us anywhere. As a writer, I must have goals and discipline, just like others who want to accomplish “great” things where their passions (or responsibilities) lie. But I’ve found that if I make them too big, I just set up myself for failure. So I’m starting to figure something out. Maybe it will help you too with your accomplishments.
A few years ago I wrote in my blog about Lent and thought it would be one I could re-post on this first day of Lent. I hope it gives you new ideas about what you might give up for Lent if you're thinking of observing the season somehow, or maybe just what you might want to do improve self-awareness and/or kindness.
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