Wednesday 22 February 2006

The beauty of the dead cow

Sick-bagging fast food
I could only hold my head in my hands this morning as I listened to the Anderson Copper 360° programme on CNN.
Many of my friends note my utter disdain expressed with vehemence when the idea of ordering fast-food come up.
Ever since over 13 years ago I observed the odd-one out round on the BBC’s Have I Got News For You where three of the most dastardly sick-making and gut-wrenching things like a nematode worm, raw sewage and back legs of a mouse were allegedly found in fast food – I have been completely and utterly off that stuff.
Some episodes on television mark you – big time.
Besides that, I can cook, I like to cook and I do try as often as possible to cook for myself and also for friends.
In some cases, I have to tone down the spices for my European guests whose palate might be complete singed with hot pepper tastes that our African ladies might as well use as eye salve – Just kidding!
Tomato mummies
When I returned to Europe years ago, the first thing that struck me when I got a can of chopped tomatoes was the Best Before date which was about 3 years hence. I lost count of the E-numbers as it looked like the manufacturers were in cahoots with the mummifiers of Ancient Egypt.
Fine, everyone looked like they were going about their business kept and preserved as lively mummies, more excitable than zombies but less so natural.
So, imagine my amazement when I found that they had been tampering with the colour of egg yolks by giving chickens a particular kind of feed containing Lutien.
The farm in your local grocery
Somehow, customers prefer yellow skinned chicken to white skinned chicken – that is the problem; many of these customers probably think you pluck eggs from garden plants.
Aesthetic quality trumps natural quality every time as convenience, availability and cost no matter how unscrupulously provided, lure and entice customers who are so removed from nature that nothing is really what it seems anymore.
This is not a time to explore the amount of colour that goes into food stuff nowadays.
Beauty of the dead cow
However, back to my inspiration for this piece, red meat is just not what it seems anymore; the meat is treated with carbon monoxide to keep the redness that usually disappears in 5 days maximum for up to 40 days.
Basically, we lose one of the common indicators for observing if packaged meat is available or off.
Colour, smell, sliminess, taste and sell-by date as the commentary goes are the options you have to check the quality for edible consumption of beef.
The colouring also masks the workings of pathogenic bacteria - but that would be hidden in some study that gets reveals when the lawyers are ready for court.
As usual when the food agencies collude in this “Customer Irrelevant”-“Industry Fillip” activity, they offer us a lesson in semantics.
Carbon monoxide is considered a colour fixative not a colour additive – take me for an idiot and I’ll be a fool for anyone.
As for the harmfulness of carbon monoxide, which binds too easily with haemoglobin in the blood than oxygen can get access to keep you alive, especially if you work in a mine or have un-serviced gas heating – they say – we have nothing to fear.
Once again we move from the curse of the mad cow to the beauty of the dead cow – history is about to repeat itself – do not say, you’ve heard this before.

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