vegansaurus!

11/30/2010

One-person trend stories: Depression 2.0 Americans love them some squirrel!  »

A reporter in the BBC Washington, D.C. office ran into a dude from Georgia who hunts squirrel, and the next thing you know, squirrel is “the perfect austerity dish.” Ms. Katie Connolly, one presumes, must’ve been really hard up for a story to have posted this piece of crap journalism.

You can hear "Dueling Banjos" in the background as soon as the article starts. Connolly uses standard BBC diction except when directly describing her subject “outdoor enthusiast” William Hovey Smith. His family has lived and hunted the “critters” in Georgia since the 18th century—less frequently, one presumes, during the years it was a cotton plantation, but today it’s “an ideal hunting ground.” Delightful! Smith takes Connolly on a hunt, where she learns he even has a “‘faithful hound’” to bring his kills back to him.

Maybe, Connolly acknowledges, some people might find eating squirrel a little icky, but Smith says it’s been an American tradition since “the early settlers…cleared the virgin forests for agriculture in the 1700s.” No, really. And because there are so many squirrels shooting and stewing them “raises fewer of the ethical and environmental questions that industrially farmed meats do.” You guys, guilt-free meat! Why aren’t we making squirrel-fur hats and whatever, like the nutria?

What am I saying—we probably are, or at least, one person in the country is; it’s just that no one’s told us about it yet.*

*Unless both these trends were totally invented by foreign journalists making fun of poor Southern Americans and their plantation-owning, rodent-eating ways. Considering how nonsensical these ideas are—“Feed your family on a dozen squirrels a day!” “Nutria: the bayou’s foe is your dinnerplate’s friend!”—don’t you think it’s likely someone’s playing a gross practical joke on the poor and backwoodsy?

[headline theme; photo by Vicki’s Nature]

11/10/2010

Bored by everyday meats? Enjoy some dancing bear!  »


Or perhaps some delicious raccoon! It’s a delicacy?

Alternatively, Dave Arnold, the author of this essay extolling the joys of “wild game,” has a peculiarly grody habit! You see, the U.S. was once known—two centuries ago—as “the premiere place to eat strange animals.” So much meat from so many unconventional animals! Tragically, although we collectively eat ever more meat as the years pass by, our menu of animals has shrunk to a bland few.

Thank goodness for laws like those regulating fur trappers, who are “permitted to trap live animals for their fur, slaughter them at USDA approved facilities, and sell the meat,” like beaver! It tastes “woodsy”!

You can also score really fancy animals from big game dealers, who breed them to sell to circuses, zoos, and “exotic pet enthusiasts” (horrible people who deserve to be eaten by their “exotic pets”). Have you ever tried to put a monetary value on your self-respect? Buy some cuts of an animal who washed out of the circus for being too old and decrepit! Yes, circuses actually have standards for their “performing” animals. Open up for braised bear whose miserable life of pain ended in slaughter to be a rug in a Hollywood Upstairs Modeling Studio, and also your dinner!

Dave Arnold purports to explain why he or anyone else would go to the trouble of seeking out and acquiring “game meats,” but his essay reads more like an Intro to Fetishistic Carnism than anything else. Ten bucks says his next essay is an argument for farming “wild” animals—lions, tigers, bears, oh mys—or the deep, rich flavors evoked by cooking roadkill for 48 hours in an immersion circulator.

[photo by Dave Arnold via Popular Science]

11/08/2010

Dairy Management using tax dollars to sell you cheese!  »

Dairy Management, essentially the marketing arm of the USDA, has had one purpose since its creation in 1995: to get everyone to buy more dairy products! According to an article in yesterday’s New York Times, Dairy Management has been helping with and paying for the marketing of cheesy foods since 1997. Apparently, “if every pizza included one more ounce of cheese, we would sell an additional 250 million pounds of cheese annually.”

Most recently, Dairy Management consultants met with Domino’s Pizza “to develop a new line of pizzas with 40 percent more cheese.” Dairy Management also paid $12 million for the marketing. What $12 million? Our $12 million, citizens! Who do you think funds the government? Yeah, we’re collectively paying for the “Got Milk?” campaign, too.

“Clinical studies show that people on a reduced-calorie diet who consume three servings of milk, cheese or yogurt each day can lose significantly more weight and more body fat than those who just cut calories.” Do you remember hearing that? It came from a study commissioned by Dairy Management that turned out to have no basis in reality. Yes, it was a lie! A lie perpetrated by an arm of the government! For four years these ads ran, until the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine challenged the study in 2005 and got the Federal Trade Commission to finally pay attention and suspend the campaign in 2007 “pending additional research.”

Please read the rest of the article—you will love all the fun techniques Dairy Management uses to turn us buffoons into cheese-devouring zombies, and just how much more cheese the country has been eating since Dairy Management’s inception (hint: a whole lot!).

Should you ever find yourself craving an eight-cheese pizza—like the new “Wisconsin” by Domino’s, with two cheeses in the crust and six on the top—your Vegansaurus would like to remind you of all the vegan alternatives available today. For this generic melting dairy cheese that Dairy Management tries daily to shove down your throat, there are equally delicious vegan analogs without the taint of the dairy industry, obscenely high levels of fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, and no one is sneakily marketing it to you.

Vegan cheese; it’s basically good for you! OK that’s a lie, but it definitely won’t kill you tomorrow.

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