A few days back I wrote about why I blog despite the fact that blogs, for the most part, are dead.
Today's post contains none of that navel gazing and instead chooses to focus on the important stuff. Food.
Specifically: Pork, Cabbage & Black Eyed Peas The Holy Trinity of New Years Day food if you will.
Of course, as noted in this article the Holy Trinity is a Southern thing. In Texas, we eat our Trinity accompanied by beer and football, with the more than occasional glass (bottles, plural) of wine. Given that things like football and tradition are passé these days we offer up the following optional menu in the spirit of giving (which is one of our core missions for 2016)
Cash isn't king any more.
We're all about credit these days. Taken from that perspective the reliance on cabbage feels outdated. Credit is not real, it's fake money, money spent that is not earned or will be repaid (with interest) in the future.
Given that it struck me that eating all of that cabbage might not be beneficial in these modern times. This leaves us with a dilemma. What foodstuff reminds of most of credit?
It could have to be something that eats like food, but is not really food per se. It's a food-like substance that, if you are to eat too much of it, might cause you problems in the future.
I can only think of one thing that satisfies all of these requirements. And given that we're currently stuck in the middle of a middling economy that's struggling due to the collapse of oil pricing, it has the secondary benefit of being cheap as well....
I give you..... Taco Bell
Taco Bell looks like food, it tastes (sorta) like food, and it fills you up almost exactly like food. Except it's not really food at all. It's a food-like product that gets the job done. Like credit, it's tasty at first (and don't let the nay-sayers fool you, the reason fast food is popular is because it tastes good to some extent) but, if you eat too much of it, it causes distress down the line.
We don't like to wait any more.
The thing about dried black-eyed peas is this, done properly, they take a while to cook. You have to sort them out, remove the stones (don't skip this step) soak them overnight and then cook them for hours in either a pot or a slow-cooker.
American's don't do that type of thing any more. We like instant gratification, the kind that's given to us by credit FWIW, we like disposable technology and we like faster Wi-Fi for quicker downloads instead of heading out to the video store.
The problem is finding something that resembles a black-eyed pea but is not, which is instant, portable, fast and whose packaging is easily tossed away.
It took me a minute but I humbly submit to you..... Corn Nuts
Corn Nuts have the added advantage of coming in many flavors so, unlike Black Eyed Peas, you can have yours in Ranch, with some heat, with the heady aroma and taste of BarBQ or just plain and salty.
The added bonus to this is that you can just crinkle up the package and throw it away when you're finished. This is entirely unlike Black-Eyed Pease which require much cleaning of dishes and running of the dishwasher which then means that you have to put things away, which takes you away from your football games.
What we now call progressive is not really progress.
The pig is a traditional sign of progress in some European cultures, especially in Germany from which some American stock has roots. It's also a symbol of bravery in Asia. Because of this people have been eating sausage, pork roast, pork chops and pulled pork for years on New Year's Day.
But "progress" is not really the goal of progress today. In most cases progress means a reversion back to the "good old days" when wages were universally low, but unions had a lot of power and a person could work a menial job and make a "living wage". Progress means different things to different people, including many who don't think that eating pig (or any animal) is all that good of an idea in the first place. Then you get into the whole Kosher/Halal debate and the pig just feels right out.
Bravery is a whole other issue. To be brief, we don't really understand bravery today in a historical sense. When Audie Murphy jumped up on the burning gun-ship and single-handedly stood his ground against a platoon of German soldiers to cover the retreat of his unit he was being brave.
When Politicians "fight" for you they are not being brave, they are being opportunists looking either to enrich political supporters or get more campaign donations. When Caitlyn Jenner received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award from ESPN she was not being brave, she was trying to keep income flowing through reality TV.
So, again, we're left looking for a food that is not really what it presents itself to be. Something that is a master of changing it's stripes to look like pretty much anything, until you take a bite and realize that you've just been handed something that is entirely unlike what you wanted.
This is a tough one. My first instinct is to suggest Tofu but I don't think it's fair to lump in the curds of the humble soybean with the dishonesty surrounding progress and bravery. This then led me to the only food that likes to pretend that it's something it's not...... Quorn
Quorn dresses up like meat (even processed meat like hot-dogs and bacon) but it's not. It's a mold, processed to the point of not being recognizable and then formed and fitted to look like something it is not. In short, Quorn is the politician of foods.
Quorn also, like Congress, suffers from an image problem. What Quorn really wants you to know about itself is not how most perceive it. The bigger problem is, when many people actually taste Quorn they don't like it. Much like people don't like members of Congress when they actually get to speak with them.
So that's it then. A New Year's Day Meal for those who are not inclined to enjoy traditional foods because of.....just pick any one of many reasons.
For most of us, New Year's Day will be spent eating Pork, Cabbage and Black Eyed-Peas. We will be doing this because of tradition and a healthy dose of hopefulness. For the rest of you, enjoy your Taco Bell, Corn Nuts and Quorn. At least we didn't go with Soylent Green.
And have a Happy New Year regardless of you dining, political or religious choices.