Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto: Eat Your Veggies!
As the Danish Ham, Omelette, said in his famous soliloquy, “To eat, and what to eat — that is the question.”
If Jimmy Durante thought “Everybody wants to get into the act!” when it comes to show biz, wait until it comes to what’s on your plate. Hoo boy! Everybody wants to tell you what you should and shouldn’t eat.
Muslims don’t want you to eat pork because it’s unclean. Jews say not only is bacon not kosher, but it’s a no-no to eat lobsters, and you can’t eat a cheeseburger because — and I’ll never figure out the logic in this — it’s sinful to eat baby goat meat that you boiled in its mother’s milk. And for a week every year you have to eat crackers because Moses was on the lam from the Pharoahs, and if it wasn’t for Matzoh there would still be Pharoahs enslaving us … three-thousand-odd years later. Yeah. I wake up shivering that King Tut’s gaining on me. Oh, and one whole day a year — nothing! Eat nothing for a day and God will forgive all the shenanigans you’ve been up to for the previous 365 days. (Rabbi, Rabbi, if I’m on Mars, how do I convert the Jewish calendar to Mars’ 687-day year?)
Hindus say no problem if you want to eat baby goat boiled in its mother’s milk, but cows are sacred so no roast beef for this little piggy!
When I was growing up Howard Johnsons had a 99 cent all-you-can-eat Fish Fry Day because Catholics were supposed to eat fish Friday. And being Jewish I never got the hang of Lent. You’re supposed to give up something, but who were you supposed to lend it to?
Of course there’s always your parents. “Don’t you know there are children starving in Europe? Eat everything on your plate — including the canned spinach — because there’s no chocolate pudding for you if you don’t!” Canned spinach? Haven’t you cretins ever heard of a wok?
And the vegetarians. Here it comes. Meat is murder! Didn’t you ever see Bambi? You know what they did to that chicken before it got to the supermarket? And how would you like it if you’re swimming around, minding your own business, spot a tasty-looking worm, and — Bam! — you got a hook stuck in your throat?
Mommy, mommy — how come it’s okay for a fish to eat a worm but it’s not okay for me to eat a fish?
We’re not done.
You’re fat and it’s because you’re eating all the wrong things. Saturated fat will give you high cholesterol and will kill you — so no butter. Eat margarine instead. Wait, wait, wait! We just figured out that margarine has partially hydrogenated oils that clog your arteries even worse than butter. Of course we didn’t figure this out for fifty years and we’re so very sorry for all the millions of people our dietary advice gave heart attacks to.
Fat will make you fat. What could be more obvious?
No, wait a minute! Now there’s new evidence that carbohydrates, not fat, have been the problem all along. And all the fat we’ve been forcing the food manufacturers to take out of their products — making them replace the fats with carbs — might be the reason the rates of heart disease, obesity, and Type-II Diabetes are skyrocketing.
Woody Allen got this in his 1973 science-fiction movie, Sleeper:
Dr. Melik: This morning for breakfast he requested something called “wheat germ, organic honey and tiger’s milk.”
Dr. Aragon: [chuckling] Oh, yes. Those are the charmed substances that some years ago were thought to contain life-preserving properties.
Dr. Melik: You mean there was no deep fat? No steak or cream pies or… hot fudge?
Dr. Aragon: Those were thought to be unhealthy… precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true.
When my daughter was little I made a treaty with her. If I promised not to tell her what she had to eat, she promised not to tell me what I shouldn’t.
Listen. Food is one of the great pleasures in life. The five most beautiful words in the English language are “All You Can Eat Buffet.”
It’s almost worth it to get hit by a bus if you can try out the all-you-can-eat, best-food-you’ve-ever had in Judgment City.
Forget roulette — that’s what Vegas is about, baby!
Lobster in butter sauce. Heavenly!
Spinach thrown into a wok with olive oil and garlic, and left there just long enough to crack it. Wow!
Have you ever had blueberry pie made with fresh blueberries? Peach pie made with fresh peaches?
Did you know there are experts on meat that when you get to the steak house the waitress asks you whether you want your Porterhouse aged “wet” or “dry”?
Have you ever done a search for the world’s biggest burrito? There’s this little place called El Abajeno on Inglewood Boulevard just south of Culver Boulevard in Culver City, California …
You really shouldn’t call yourself a critic of American cooking if you’ve never sampled the menu at the Publick House in Sturbridge, Massachusetts — don’t miss the Indian Pudding for dessert — or tried the Shoo-Fly Pie at the Plain & Fancy Farm House in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
The search for the world’s best hamburger. It used to be so much easier before the goddam government decided that because e coli can travel on raw beef — it can travel as easily on raw lettuce and spinach — hamburgers had to be overcooked to the consistency of shoe leather. And restauranteurs — probably on the advice of their lawyers — started lying to their customers, claiming it was illegal for them to serve you a rare hamburger.
Yes, it’s a lie. I looked it up. You should have known it was a lie when they said you could still order the sashimi and the rare steak.
Once in a while I can still find a restaurant to make me a rare hamburger.
But that’s why all the fast-food-hamburger-chains — McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, Jack in the Box, Carl’s, Jr., In-N-Out Burger — are all traitors to the American Dream. If their kitchens truly aren’t clean enough to make a rare hamburger, their kitchens deserve to be sterilized with napalm.
Bacon-cheeseburgers with avocado are sensational. Try it, Rabbi. You’ll see the Face of God. And remember that the reason Cain slew Abel is that Cain got jealous that God preferred the smoke from Abel’s meat barbecuing to the stench of Cain’s burning vegetables.
If the only tuna you’ve had is out of a can and not served uncooked, you’ve never tried tuna at all.
The best pizza I ever had was the double-stuffed I had at a long-gone eatery called Ambrosia in the suburbs of Chicago.
My Aunt Lena’s pot roast and noodle pudding.
The Eggplant a la Russe at the Russian Tea Room, and the can’t-get-them-in-your mouth sandwiches at the Stage or Carnegie Delis.
Carvel Ice Cream.
Freihofer’s chocolate-chip cookies.
Friendlies, back when the Fribble was still called the Awful Awful — “Awful Big, Awful good!”
Howard Johnson’s Tendersweet Fried Clams or Welsh Rarebit — and their Indian Pudding with vanilla ice cream was pretty good, too.
Then there was the eatery in the 70′s/80′s on Motor Avenue in Los Angeles that served this fantastic fusion cooking — I think its name was Epiphany, or Serendipity, or something like that — and it had a signature ice-cream dessert called “the Scrunch.”
And I remember Mamma’s Buffet, corner of Wilshire and Lincoln. All their Asian food was orange.
The point is that the variety of food pleasures are near endless and every busybody wants to tell you what you must and must not eat. Some of them — not many — may actually have your health on their minds. The rest are vicious misanthropists whose palates were crippled by various dietary cults who insist they’re entitled to impose their narrow food bigotry on everyone else.
They are the very Devil.
An old friend of mine, Clive Amor — my father’s assistant concertmaster in the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra — was born in India, raised in London, and studied violin with Jascha Heifetz in the U.S. I knew him in Texas. Clive and I went out to eat a lot and he’d order far more than he could eat, leaving more than half over. I’m into doggie bags to take uneaten food home for later; Clive wasn’t. Jokingly, once, I said to him, “Don’t you know there are kids starving in India?”
And Clive said these golden words to me, God bless his soul: “I got out of India. I don’t have to eat that.”
Freedom begins when the child tells his parents to take these lima beans and shove them.
The spanking is worth it to remember the price of liberty.
A musician I know who lives in the mountains of Colorado puts it this way: “Vegetables? That’s what food eats!”
Putting it my way: I eat vegetarians.
As for PETA: I respect their right to eat or not eat whatever they like.
The problem with PETA is that they don’t respect mine.
Next in Unchaining the Human Heart — A Revolutionary Manifesto is Chapter VIII: Thank You For Smoking!
Copyright © 2010 The J. Neil Schulman Living Trust. All rights reserved.
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