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Inflammatory Speech

InflammationGIF

In the 1980s I used to see adds for a new “superfood” – amaranth, which was advertised as the “mystic grain of the Aztecs”. This became a standing joke in our household, one which still pops up from time to time. There’s just something funny about the marketers’ attempt to sell this starchy food as a breakfast cereal by tying it to mysticism and feathered serpents that naturally invites mockery.

Amaranth is a grain (mystic or not), and I won’t eat it now. There’s nothing in any grain that I can’t get from vegetables and meat, and there is a lot in grain that I don’t want to get; gluten, gliadin, zein, avenin, lectins, and so forth. These proteins have one thing in common: they cause inflammation. And they do it to everybody to some extent, although some people are affected more than others, and some proteins are worse for some people than others.

There is a common meme among the paleo eaters of the world that a percentage compliance of 80/20 good/bad will get you the most benefit for your effort. Whether this is true or not, when it comes to trying to improve your health it makes sense to pick off the weakest pack members (hunter analogy) or harvest the most low-hanging fruit (gatherer analogy) first. In terms of general health, that is, discounting specific problems like your acromial impingement or tennis elbow, I think the most effective targeting strategy is to reduce inflammation in your body. This is a great idea because at the same time you address the causes of so many potential problems –  joint pain, fatigue, multiple skin conditions (including dandruff), and mental problems like fog (possibly even dementia) can often be tied directly to inflammation, and excess weight has a relationship with inflammation as well.

Personally, because of the problems I experienced with wheat and all of the nasty ingredients in it, I don’t even try to go for the 80/20 protocol where it is concerned; I have to stick to 100/0 because if I don’t, I get in trouble. Right away. That acts as a reminder for me and an incentive to try to take the same approach to the other inflammation triggers that I know about. There are three broad classes of these, and they are the ones in the graphic above: sugar, grains, and vegetable oils. The order doesn’t matter; they all important.

Reducing (eliminating would be better) our intake of these is probably the most useful health strategy we can employ in terms of what we get back for the effort.

Eat Sugar For Energy?

Sugar is everywhere; it’s literally omnipresent. And if you’ve read any of my earlier posts about Sugar Information, Incorporated, you know that this is no accident. Sugar is made from federally subsidized crops, so we are all paying to keep it cheap, just as we pay to keep wheat, corn, and soy cheap, as well as many other crops. But let’s stick with sugar right now. We are all aware of the sugar in soft drinks (or I hope we are), but many of us don’t realize that those helpful food labels carefully manipulate the ingredient lists in such a way that the sugar in other products is often hidden by virtue of its multiple appearances under different names. The sugar lobby is fighting tooth and nail to avoid having a category of added sugars listed on these labels because that would tip their hand, but let’s gloss over that for the moment.

Here is a list of extra sugars that you can find on food labels. Because ingredients are listed in the order of their volume, if you see any of those in the top percentage of the list you know you have got a fair amount of less-than-visible sugar. Of course, the advisability of eating anything with a long list of ingredients is questionable, but perhaps there is some food product out that that meets the test.

Dr. Robert Lustig really has a bee in his bonnet about sugar, but he has a point; the stuff is nasty. He has several YouTube videos if you don’t like reading printed matter, but his books are worthwhile. He focuses his attention on sugar to the exclusion of other possible contributors to the obesity epidemic (and while I believe there are several, sugar is a big one), but aside from that I think he’s spot-on. If you view his work as a critique of sugar itself and not an overall analysis of why we get fat then his books and videos are absolutely invaluable. Short version: eating sugar in the quantities that we do leads to inflammation. And we do eat sugar in quantity: 156 pounds per person per year. But “only” 29 pounds of of that is in the form of table sugar; the rest comes in the form of sugar in the processed food we eat and drink.

So perhaps the topic of “paleo desserts”, which you will see everywhere on the net, is something of an oxymoron in health terms. But people like sweets and once you’re addicted to something it’s hard to give it up. Boy, is it hard. My great-grandparents ate a small fraction of the sugar that the average American today eats, and in their time the biggest cause of death was infectious diseases. Western medicine has done a good job on those and today, our biggest health problem is chronic diseases, most of which are directly related to what we eat. And we are not eating what my great-grandparents ate. That results in conditions like obesity, diabetes, arthritis, and others, most (if not all) of which can be tied directly to our diet.

Short version: if you’re going to start with anything, start with sugar. But don’t stop there, because grains are just as bad in their own but more subtle way.

“Healthy” Whole Grains

Again, these tend to be subsidized crops which we pay to keep cheap so manufacturers can add them easily to our food. If you visit your local supermarket and don’t prowl the outside of the store but instead walk through the maze of aisles and freezer compartments, take a look around you and make a note of how much grain there is in everything; it’s astonishing. Almost everything that comes in a box has wheat in it to some degree, unless it has corn.

This is not an accident; wheat has so many great properties from a seller’s point of view that they can’t resist using it: it makes you want to eat more because of the effect it has on your brain, which mimics hard drugs albeit in a much less potent way; it is so cheap for them to add that its inclusion costs virtually nothing in the context of the product itself, and in fact the advertising and packaging for the product probably cost more than the ingredients by quite a bit; the texture that gluten imparts makes for great mouth feel in breads, crackers, and others; it thickens liquids very nicely, and it acts as a cheap extender to replace more costly ingredients.

What’s not to like from the perspective of the American Tobacco Company, now owner of Kraft Foods but also the company behind that incredibly offensive ad campaign for Tareyton cigarettes that I have have already profiled. The thought that the tobacco industry moved into industrial food after it got burned so badly by the states’ lawsuits (which inflicted some real damage to them for the first time) should make you pause to think: how did this industry behave when it was in control of tobacco, a product that we knew at the time was dangerous? Is there any reason why they should change their behavior when the financial motives that applied to tobacco then are exactly the same now?

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Anyone who needs proof of the harmful effects of wheat (and the mechanisms whereby they are produced) can go to Dr. Davis’ Wheatbelly site and certainly find it. But wheat is not the only suitor in this engagement from hell; for various reasons, it’s best to avoid the other grains, too. I referred to zein and avenin earlier – they are the gluten equivalents found in corn and oats, respectively, and the more you dig into this subject, the deeper it gets. In the end, I decided that I would just skip the whole issue and get my carbohydrates from vegetables because as I also mentioned earlier, there isn’t anything in grain that you can’t get from vegetables and meat; in fact, the nutrient density of vegetables and meat is far, far higher than that of grains, but without the antinutrients in grains (such as phytates, which actually prevent your body from utilizing minerals – how useful is that?) and without the concomitant weight gain, which none of us needs these days.

These grains were a lifesaver thousands of years ago when people needed a way to feed populations that were getting bigger and bigger and more and more sessile – in other words, cities. But we paid a huge price in health for the advantages we got so the bargain was not quite the deal we thought at the time. Advantageous in the short term, in hindsight it has become something of a lemon of a buy in the long term because we got smaller, our facial structures changed (causing problems with our teeth) and our problems with degenerative diseases ramped up. It’s interesting to read about Ötzi, the so-called “Ice Man” found in the Swiss mountains in 1991, and learn that he ate grains and had lousy teeth 5,000 years ago. And yet many, many fossils of primitive people do not suffer from this; in fact, Dr. Weston Price has documented 15 or 16 so-called “primitive” societies that had survived into the Twentieth Century and yet had excellent dentition and health. His book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration is a must-read for anyone interested in the subject. The final word on grains’ impact on the health of early peoples comes from the ancient Egyptians, most of whom were not affluent enough to eat large quantities of meat. There, you find folk subsisting mostly on grains (and beer, which is made from grain) and leaving behind a trail of mummies with bad teeth, periodontal disease, arthritis, diminished physical size, and many other characteristics that accompany a lousy diet. It’s in the archaeological record, people.

As a side note I should add that soy, which I haven’t really spoken about here because it is not technically a grain (it’s a legume) is another problem food which is, you got it, subsidized. Until comparatively recently soy beans were only used to replenish the soil during an off year when the farmer wasn’t growing a productive crop. Their weird estrogen mimicry in the body makes them a food I’d rather do without.

Oil From Plants

Well, some of them, anyway. A couple of them turn out to be pretty good for you but except for olive oil they aren’t the ones you usually hear about.

The third corner of this subsidized Devil’s Triangle is vegetable oils. Corn is so heavily subsidized that the state of Ohio practically exists to serve it; what a great deal corn has gotten for itself! (So says Michael Pollan, anyway.) But corn is only the second biggest crop in Ohio; our friend from a couple of paragraphs ago, soy, is the biggest. Iowa is the state where corn is number one; this otherwise uninteresting fact gains new meaning when you remember that Iowa has an unfortunate influence politically by virtue of our peculiar system of primaries; in America, the farm lobby can keep someone from becoming president because Iowa’s primary is the first one in the country and nobody runs there that the lobby (which gives to both parties) won’t accept. [Note: Iowa grew 13.1 million acres of corn in 2012, but only a tiny fraction was sweet corn. The same source shows that in 2007 Iowa only grew 3,500 acres of sweet corn. Sweet corn is usually not GMO, while feed and ethanol corn almost always is. Think about that.] Corn oil, soybean oil, canola oil (which is actually rapeseed oil, only how good is that for PR?), safflower oil (which until the 1960s was used mostly by the paint industry!), and of course, their unholy stepchild margarine, are all made from subsidized crops and they all oxidize easily, turning to toxic substances when heated or exposed to the air for too long. (Even exposure to light will oxidize them but they still get sold in clear bottles that do nothing to prevent it. What matters most here?) This causes inflammation when living creatures ingest them (zombies may fare better but that’s a different story and there haven’t been a lot of studies yet on the effects of trans fat consumption among the undead anyway) and then we are back to the litany of so-called “civilized diseases”.

These oils are high in Omega-6 fatty acids, with soy being the biggest source. Omega-3 fatty acids, which come from fish and pastured animals, used to be found in human diets in much greater proportions that they are now; from a near 1:1 ratio long ago they are now in the range of 20:1 [O6:O3] or even higher, depending on your source. More inflammation. The mechanical process which is used to produce vegetable oils uses high pressure, which produces heat, which guarantees some oxidization. Canola oil has a better ratio than the others here, but it has its own problems. Take a look at this video, which is sponsored by the industry:

Don’t you feel better now? Love that “don’t eat saturated fat” message. Believe it if you want to. This is a great example of the way industry slants its message. “The producers of canola oil have your best interests at heart” – would you believe that if you knew who was saying it? “We don’t need to eat fast foods that are not made with canola.” Some of us might argue that we shouldn’t be eating fast foods at all, but let it go. Bottom line here (reinforced by the text at the bottom of the video): eat less fat. Nobody should go overboard on anything, but it’s not that simple.

At first I found it hard to tell friend from foe when it comes to oils because there are so many of them and like the rest of us I grew up hearing that fats are bad for you anyway. Rather than running it all down here is a link to a reasonable summary. The short version is that you can (and should) eat (not necessarily in order) these oils/fats, many of which have been demonized by groups that should know better.

Olive oil
Butter
Lard
Tallow
Avocado oil
Coconut oil

and some others, but also other sources of fat such as pastured eggs, and wild fish. More info here.

TimeMagEatButterIf you have not already read it, I recommend getting a copy of Nina Teicholz’ book The Big Fat Surprise from your library and spending some time with it. When even Time magazine is running pictures of butter on its cover and saying “Eat  Butter” you know the times they are a-changin’. (Registration required for the full article, alas, but if you search around the net you can find the entire text. However, the video does not require registration and it’s not bad, especially from a mainstream publication.)

The war on fat has had a lot of casualties over the years, including my own father-in-law, who did his very best to eat no fat, eat lots of “heart-healthy whole grains”, exercised like crazy, and yet died of pancreatic cancer, a cancer which is made much more likely on a low fat, high carb diet because of the way it stresses the pancreas. As far as I am concerned, he was a victim of iatrogenic disease, or “doctor-caused disease”. But just look around you; look at all the obese people in America and remember that most of them are not lazy slobs who simply don’t want to eat right; most of them are trying like crazy to lose weight…by eating the way their doctors tell them to. Only since their doctors don’t know anything about nutrition their success rate is abysmal.

¿uǝddɐɥ sıɥʇ pıp ʍoɥ ¡uʍop ǝpısdn sı pןɹoʍ ǝɥʇ

I think that the causes (note the plural) are so complex that there is no solution, there are only incremental actions that we can try to take and most of them will have little or no immediate impact. First of all, we can try to eat the way we think is best and stick to our philosophy, voting with our money. At the same time, there will, of course, be vegans and low-fat dieters doing the same thing, and a majority of people ignoring the entire issue, so the impact of a few paleo eaters isn’t going to make that much difference. But we can make a huge difference on our own lives, just as I have already done with mine.

More importantly, and this is where my speech here becomes “inflammatory”, I believe we have to change the political and financial environment that makes these three inflammatory commercial powerhouses so strong: we have to change the subsidy program that literally feeds them, and to do that we probably have to change the way our primaries are scheduled to remove the death grip Iowa has on our national elections. I don’t see anything less having an effect, but I am also realistic enough to know that the chances of this are…well, they suck. But this will be a bottom-up movement, not one from the top down, so I guess it’s a little less disheartening to know that I’m on the bottom. And you probably are too, if you’ve managed to read this far.

What would those Aztecs think of us, I wonder: millions of people too fat to run, millions of people too sick to climb trees, millions of children with diabetes that could have been prevented by eating different food, and millions of unnecessary deaths. And we see them as bloodthirsty murderers who idolized pagan gods.

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Posted by on August 8, 2014 in *Top Posts*, Corporations, Health, Images

 

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Caca Cola

FatCokeSantaParkins

This devastating image is the leadoff picture in a new article in Businessweek about Coca Cola’s declining sales. Admittedly, Businessweek is part of Bloomberg’s empire and thus has no love for sugar-infested sodas so perhaps it is not the most neutral reporter on the case…but this picture is far more damaging to Coca Cola than the article because it really does do more than a thousand words could. Nice job, Mr. Parkins: two claws up.

There was a fascinating tidbit that slipped out in the article: “Next year the company hopes for a national rollout of Fairlife, milk in which the molecules have been disassembled and then reformed to create different variations (high-protein, lactose-free milk) that taste like the regular thing.”

I suppose we’ll all line up, clamoring to drink our refreshing disassembled molecules…or maybe not. I think that instead of calling this milk we should call it bilk.

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2014 in Corporations, Health

 

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Incorpserations

San Francisco

LincolnBlog

Washington, DC – In a mixed decision a Federal court decided yesterday that a person can have the same rights as a corporation, setting up likely conflicts for years to come. The ruling “attempts to right the imbalance of power created by the US Government’s decision in the 1800’s to consider corporations as ‘persons’ in the eyes of the law,” said Phelan Wayside, the lead attorney for the plaintiff in the case.

The court went beyond simple recognition of corporate status for individuals, however; the ruling also holds that the individual may trademark himself, requires that anyone who refers to his trademarked identity pay him a royalty, and in what is likely to be the most controversial section of the decision, states that individuals may trademark other people so long as they are not already trademarked. The precedent for this was the legal practice employed by genetic researchers of patenting genes in existing lifeforms, a practice made legal by the case of Diamond v. Chakrabarty in 1980 and extended in the next decade with pharmaceutical companies acquiring the rights to huge quantities of plant matter via trademark.

Yesterday’s ruling extends to the incorporation and trademarking of deceased persons as well, a process the court referred to as “incorpseration”.

The plaintiff in the case, Fred Wellington™, was exultant*. “It’s about time! We’ve been saying for years that corporations have no empathy, accept no responsibility for their actions, are concerned only with their own well-being, are not accountable, and lie like a mattress. Why shouldn’t I have those rights, too?” Immediately acting on the court’s ruling by incorporating himself, he has also managed to snag several unwary and slow-moving identities as well; Bill Gates™ and Oprah Winfrey™ refused to comment when asked about their own legal plans. Abraham Lincoln™ could not be reached for comment but crowds visiting Lincoln™’s tomb claimed to see something spinning above the structure. “The rush to incorpserate has just begun,” said Fred Wellington™.

Financial speculation on corpserations is a new aspect Wall Street is only beginning to come to grips with as some traders believe they can be traded like commodities. Unincorpserated human corporations (formerly referred to as “the living”) are entering the market as well and as one trader asked in 2007, “Who wouldn’t want to sell George Bush™ short right now?”

*Each use of the ™ symbol in this article required us to pay $0.47 to Fred Wellington™. Oops – there’s another one.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2014 in Corporations

 

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McSanto’s

McSanto

New York – The McDonald’s and Monsanto corporations announced today that they have reached agreement on terms leading to a merger of the two industry leaders. The new entity, to be called “McSanto’s”, will be a “complete top-to-bottom market-streaming food payload delivery system of unparalleled depth covering a full spectrum age demographic”, according to analyst Jeffrey Spottiswode of Scientists Helping Industrial Litigation Licensing. “We have been examining the proposed merger for some time and I am satisfied that the real beneficiary of the deal will be the consumer, who will have better access to food choices than she has ever had at any time in history.”

Both companies’ stock prices rose slightly on the announcement.

The news couldn’t have come at a better time; there have been problems in the past. On May 3, 2007 Monsanto was dealt a judicial setback when a court in San Francisco ruled that the USDA’s 2005 approval of its genetically engineered “Roundup Ready” alfalfa was illegal, the first time the company has been handed such a reversal. McDonald’s has recently been in the news because of adverse public reactions to one of its new kids’ meal items; the genetically engineered Smorgasbird (the ads’ tagline is “Every part is edible”) has proved a difficult sell, in part due to the footage of projectile diarrhea featured in the sixteen now famous YouTube videos.

McSanto’s has bold plans for future movement: the introduction of Roundup Ready Fries, which will blend a friendly western image with the ability to resist the world’s most common herbicide; Harpy Meals, the reformulated (“safer than ever”) version of the Smorgasbird-derived food product system; Malted Meatballs, the first actual meat product synthesized from petroleum; rBeST sHakes, the new line of bovine growth hormone dairy drinks, and most intriguing of all, the retirement of an old friend, Ronald McDonald.

The beloved ad mascot will be making way for a pair of fun loving logotypes; McSanto Claus will take over much of Ronald’s current duties vis-à-vis food marketing and children’s PR functions, while the Happy Pharmer is being introduced “as a way to help them to trust the brand at a younger age while still communicating solid information to adults”, according to company spokesperson Shirleen Inkerton. “With McSanto Claus the kids will know it’s Christmas all year round”, while the Happy Pharmer will be giving PowerPoint presentations on free DVDs which accompany the meals. “We got the idea from Al Gore, and just look what it did for him!” said Shirleen.

Each personality will also be sold as Nag-ems, edible plastic action figures carefully researched for their so-called “nag factor”, or the ability to get kids to pester on demand. Nag-ems are the fastest growing item in the current McSanto hierarchy of action figures.

The move comes at a time when the industry faces more competition than ever before, especially as the organic movement takes off. Targeted niche marketers such as Burger Queen (organic choices for gays and lesbians) and Rat-In-The-Box (from Disney’s GenX-to-slacker marketing arm) have made inroads on fast food profits, while truly specialized venues such as Hank’s Booze & Shoots chain (tavern and firing range separated by the bar) have also siphoned off revenue.

McSanto’s also revealed today that it has acquired the infant formula brand Babes In Soyland as well as the chain of Leafy Rest assisted living communities and its subsidiary, Cenotaph, Incorporated – the second-largest mortuary concern in the state of California.

“Now they’ve got you,” laughs Spottiswode, the analyst. “Cradle to grave.”

 

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Posted by on July 28, 2014 in Corporations, Health

 

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The Earth Is Still Flat

KaiserLetter

We received this letter from our HMO the other day and I was interested (but not surprised) to see that they are still stuck in the Great Cholesterol Fear campaign. There is so much information available now about all the problems with this simplistic approach that nothing that I can say is going to convince anybody in any new fashion that Kaiser is completely wrong here. But I like a good rant as much as the next pirate (even if I don’t rant quite as well as Pirate Ben’s grandmother) so I’ve posted this as a companion piece to the tribute to Kaiser Permanente which I ran when I started this blog.

The problem with Kaiser is that it is completely governed by committee thought, and that does not make for good medicine. The use of medical guidelines to determine health care treatments is, in my opinion, one of the worst things that has happened to us – what are you supposed to do when you know the guidelines are wrong? This puts you in a terrible position, because you can no longer trust your doctor. That the staff at Kaiser is overworked and overbooked only adds to the difficulty; you get about 15 minutes with somebody…if you are lucky. And of that 15 minutes, how much of it is actual face-to-face conversation? And since the doctor is so pressed for time now, she has to spend the entire visit typing on her keyboard, which means she can’t even look at you beyond the initial greeting. Tell me that the visual aspect of a doctor visit is not important.

I think western medicine is great if you have a trauma issue or an infection. But the number one problem in our society now (speaking in medical terms) is not infectious diseases like it was 100 years ago, it’s chronic conditions. And most of those are caused by lifestyle choices we make or which, unbeknownst to us, are made for us. Diabetes, obesity, arthritis, I don’t know where to begin – an entire list would be enormous. As Sarah Ballantyne points out, you can start with these as having inflammatory causes which are strongly related to what you eat:

Alzheimer’s disease
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS; aka Lou Gehrig’s disease)
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Dementia
Dercum’s disease (aka Adiposis dolorosa)
Epilepsy
Fibromyalgia
Hidradenitis suppurativa
Morphea
Neuromyotonia
Opsoclonus myoclonus syndrome
Parkinson’s disease
Progressive inflammatory neuropathy
Schizophrenia
Some forms of cancer

Ballantyne lists several pages of such conditions in her book The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease, Heal Your Body. Friends, this is the book to have handy if you need biochemistry to back up your arguments! (Mini review: great book for dealing with autoimmune conditions or just understanding how your body reacts to various inputs, very tech heavy through the first section, somewhat spoiled by almost complete reliance on boring stock photographs; except for the occasional headshot of a quoted person all the photos are generic images from stock agencies and they could go in any medically related book at all. Too bad, because otherwise it is a good book.)

My point here is that while western medicine is great if you break a leg and need it set, or if you need surgery for an acromial impingement (like I did), it is mostly ineffective when it comes to managing conditions which are food or lifestyle related. The discouraging thing is that most doctors don’t seem to think this is a problem, so maybe all it means is that I don’t know what I’m talking about and I should shut up and listen to them. After all, they are the experts with degrees, aren’t they?

Problem is, these same people are the ones who told me for thirty years that I either had imaginary problems, or that I was depressed, or that I had problems of idiopathic origin (which just means that they don’t know what the problem is but it sounds a lot more official, doesn’t it?), or that I should try an anti-dandruff shampoo (I’m not kidding). And *I* am the person who found out on my own what the real problem was; it was the damn wheat I had been eating all my life. So why in the world should I take these people seriously when they tell me now that elevated cholesterol can increase my risk of heart attack when this time I know it simply is not true? I’m not the totally uninformed patient I was a few years ago, guys. I’ve read enough comments by doctors on their own blogs about how patients are getting more involved in their care and I can see how, from the doctors’ point of view, this could be a problem when everybody is questioning their treatment, but in this case I think the doctors have nobody but themselves (as a profession) to blame. If they hadn’t been so enamored of fright-based messages like ELEVATED CHOLESTEROL CAN INCREASE YOUR RISK OF HEART ATTACK then perhaps we might have a bit more trust in their diagnoses and treatment.

So now I know that the Earth is still flat according to Kaiser, and I still stand by my original assessment of the organization:

KPblog

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2014 in Corporations, Health

 

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Prig – The Other Red Meat

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

MRS. RODMAN WANAMAKER, charming young socialite.

When I first saw this picture I thought “That’s Betty Draper” from Mad Men; WTF! Of course, it’s not Betty – this ad came out in the Fifties so it’s roughly the right era for Betty, but it’s just a coincidence, or perhaps its a testament to how well Mad Men did at getting the visuals right in the series. But one thing this woman shares with Betty is that she’s a prig.

All of the people in these ads are. In the autumn, they throw the old prigskin around, have nightmares about roast suckling prig in the spring (have to write about that one some time), and tell their children the story of the Three Little Prigs. This ad is a good example of putting lipstick on a prig (literally); for potential new customers these cigarettes must have been like buying a prig in a poke. “When prigs fly!” they might exclaim upon seeing these ads if they had an ounce of racial sensitivity in their priggy bones.

This is one of the Tareyton ads that tip the hint that the American Tobacco Company was aiming at the lower tier of the market with this campaign – the double references to low price and value are the giveaway. The patronizing cynicism of the ad is breathtaking; I have to admire its audacity.

Compositing woes: this card-carrying member of the Aryans From Darien is pasted in on top of a photograph of polo players whose sun is on the other side of the sky from hers. The box of cigarettes looks pretty bad too, but what’s up with those fuzzy binoculars?

What to do with Mrs. W? Perhaps we could feature her in Prigs In A Blanket, or one of the many, many versions of Prig’s Feet (on the East Coast, these are often sold as “DAR trotters”) but I think we have a better idea.

Prig Mayonnaise/Holier-Than-Thou Spread (excellent on the upper crust)

Makes roughly 1/2 cup

Ingredients
1 egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup liquid prig fat, left from frying

Preparation
Warm the prig fat enough to soften it to a liquid stage, but not to a high temperature.

Combine the yolk, mustard and lemon juice in the small bowl of a food processor or in a blender and process to mix. Season with salt and pepper.

With the food processor running, gradually add the fat until the mixture starts to stiffen. Once it starts to emulsify, you can add the fat more quickly. If the result is too thick you can add MCT oil, if you have some handy; it is tasteless and liquid at room temperature. Otherwise, you could add hot water. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Deep-fry some fingers, salt them, and dip them in this magic sauce. You’re golden!

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Posted by on July 24, 2014 in Corporations, People Food

 

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Drowned Socialite

Click to enlarge

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MISS DENISE LAWSON-JOHNSTON, of New York and London society. Empty headed as a bag of loon shit, this completely fabricated construct would have you believe she is sitting in front of a swimming pool and not in a photo studio. Discriminating in her choice of cigarettes, Miss Lawson-Johnston says “I even sit this way when no one is watching me, although that never happens.”

Shadows fall in three different directions in this pasteup from the American Tobacco Company – her legs, the diving board, and the umbrellas all have different shadows. This ad is more surreal than most of the Herbert Tareyton efforts from the Fifties; it reminds me of some of the scenes in JG Ballard’s Vermilion Sands, that portrayal of languid, bored rich people who sculpt clouds, sail “land yachts” on the desert and grow lethal singing flowers when they are not expiring from ennui or sports car accidents.

Pasteup or not, she still discriminates, but perhaps not only by choosing the cork tip of the Tareyton. I think the way to deal with her is to follow the lead set by Damon Knight in his classic food story from the 1950s, To Serve Man, and after thinking about how to approach Miss Lawson-Johnston, we decided to present her in her own habitat, that is – DROWNED, or marinated, as it is sometimes also called in cooking circles.

Drowned Socialite

1 large standing rib roast from a prime socialite (about 5 pounds, so you’ll need a socialite roughly the size of Ethyl Merman)

Drowning bath:
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon crumbled fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
4 cloves fresh garlic, crushed

Spice mixture:
1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon fresh diced, crushed rosemary
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions:
Stir together the wine, onion, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, marjoram, and garlic in a bowl.

Drown the socialite in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, turning regularly. Remove when ready, a decision which is up to you.

Combine the spice mixture and rub it over the meat.*

Place the meat, fat side up, in a large roasting pan.

Roast in a 325F oven to desired doneness, allowing 1 to 3 hours for rare (140F internal temperature), 2 to 3 hours for medium (160 F internal temperature), or 2 to 4 hours for well done (170F internal temperature).

Transfer the meat to a cutting board. Cover with foil and let stand for 15 minutes before carving.

*Note: when baking, if you wish to add a nice touch and you have access to some ham, you can cut it into slivers and insert it into slits cut into the meat. If you don’t have ham, you can always use smoked actor; it amounts to the same thing.

HWÆT! The desire to snare and munch swimming socialites is ancient indeed, as this passage from Beowulf attests:

The warden of Geats,
with bolt from bow, then balked of life,
of wave-work, one monster, amid its heart
went the keen war-shaft; in water it seemed
less doughty in swimming whom death had seized.
Swift on the billows, with boar-spears well
hooked and barbed, it was hard beset,
done to death and dragged on the headland,
wave-roamer wondrous.

And that’s before we even meet Grendel’s mother, but nobody would be likely to call her a socialite.

RA-Morph_AVATAR

 

More people food:

Jockey Stew

Cervelles de Mondaine

Socialite’s Cheek in Mustard & Cream Sauce

Socialite’s Liver in Nut Sauce

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2014 in Corporations, People Food

 

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