Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Some Things We're Better Off Not Knowing.

I read Fast Food Nation 2 years ago, and that book was enough to put me off meat forever. Well, technically, the fact that the cattle industry tried to sue the author but couldn't find anything in the book that was untrue was what made me seek out greener, cattle-free pastures. I coerced my husband into reading it, and that pretty much put him off meat forever, too. Since then he's been trying on and off to get his parents to quit eating meat, but no dice. They consider his protelyzing to be irritating, and have resorted to flat out telling him to shut up.

"I don't want to know," said his mother, biting into a slice of pizza covered in ground hamburger (the worst! The worst of the worst!)

Privately, he and I tsked over their willful ignorance. Why would you deliberately refuse to learn about an activity that you're engaging in that is harmful? Not to mention disgusting! I just don't understand that.

That is, I didn't until yesterday, when I picked up the latest issue of Cook's Illustrated and read about black olives. They were rating the best of black olives. Nicoise olives ranked the highest. My favorite olives, good old California black olives, didn't even make the list. I couldn't understand it. Sure, they were more humble than the fancified French Nicoise, but they were reliable, mellow, dependable. I have fond memories of being a kid and having black olive and mushroom pizza every Sunday night and watching "All Creatures Great and Small" on PBS. It's still my favorite kind of pizza. And besides, my kids love them. And then I found a mention of them in a sidebar. California black olives, or "California" black olives, as the magazine referred to them, were not rated because they're actually green olives dyed with chemicals to make them black.

I wailed my discovery to frog, who was callously unconcerned about this horrific news. Evidently, this was taught to frog in kindergarden, right about the time she learned her left hand from her right. "You can make the letter 'L' on your left hand with your thumb and pointer finger, and black olives are merely chemically-dyed green ones. 'Repeat after me, class, "L" is for "left", and black olives suck.'" I must have been absent that day.

Now I know why my in-laws preferred to keep their innocence, even if it meant chowing down on shit-infested meat.

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