by David G. Woolley
That's what I told my four young, impressionable nephews. Hayseeds from Idaho. They were visiting during the week-long potato harvest. Like they own any farm land. For them it's a potato-fest. No school for nine days. Total Idahoan chaos.
The Idaho State Department of Education experimented with a number of names for the holiday. They tried Mashed Potato-fest first, but got complaints from the tourism division. Bad copy for ski Idaho commercials. They tried Baked potato-fest. Au gratin-fest. Fried Potato-fest. Boiled Potato-fest. None of them increased tourism. The holiday just doesn't have the same draw as, say, Germany's alcohol-imbued October-fest, though last spud harvest there was a beer problem.
When I arrived at grandma's house I found my four delinquents Nephews in the kitchen drinking high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) soda pop. You know. Sugary beverages that started the obesity revolution. Fostered the hundred-million-man diabetes march. Hardened more arteries than a double order of Outback Steakhouse Aussie Cheese Fries© with ranch dressing. Increased the spread of cancer faster than a speeding bullet. Leaped past beer consumption as the worst possible threat to word-of-wisdom health in a single bound.
I said, "Where did you get that?"
Lee (youngest nephew, the nice kid) said, "Grandma gave it to us."
"Impossible. I turned her stash over to the narcotics division."
Tanner (second to youngest nephew, the clever kid) said, "She got more because she loves us."
"That HFCS is bad, boys. Bad. Bad. Bad. Doesn't your Mother teach you better?"
Grant (oldest nephew, the smart kid) said, "She drove grandma to the grocery store."
Andy (second oldest nephew, the quiet kid) said, "Yup."
I should have stopped there and let the potato-fest take its toll. They have good oncologists, internists and heart surgeons in Idaho, don't they? But no. My sister, the mother of these irredeemable wretches, walked into the kitchen right when I said, "Look. If its a choice between drinking HFCS soda or beer, drink the beer. It’s not as bad for you." Sis let out an audible gasp. She always does that when I use her children as laboratory rodents in my psychiatry experiments.
The following Thanksgiving the Idaho extension of the family hosted the celebration. Complete with a turkey (me), sage dressing and beer. That's right. Beer at a devout Mormon family Thanksgiving dinner. Where was our Word-of-Wisdom head? We pulled into the little family cottage on the banks of the Snake River and when I walked through the front door, there, lounging on the front room floor, reclining in the lazy-boy, draped over the armrest of the couch, hunkered down under a quilt was the nice kid, the clever kid, the smart kid and the quiet kid, each with a bottle of beer. They raised their brown glass receptacles and Lee (remember the nice kid?) offered the toast. He said, “It’s not nearly as bad for you as sugary HFCS soda.”
They downed the stuff. Happy Hour Thanksgiving to all.
Have you ever noticed how hard it is to tell a beer bottle from, say, root beer? Take a look at the photo. Soda. Budweiser. Hires. Coors. Who can tell? The smoked brown bottle motif is so beer-ish. And those little wretches knew it. Last laugh goes to the hayseeds from Idaho, with a little help from sis. She drove them to the grocery store. Again. They win the payback round, but warning: my laboratory experiments have just begun.
In other warnings worthy of note, the worst nutritional period of the year begins today, Halloween, when million$ worth of diabetes-causing, cancer-promoting, heart-attack inflicting HFCS exchanges hands while parents and members of the department of Firearms, Tobacco and Narcotics stand idly by. It’s insane. It’s un-American. It’s a black day for a back alley deal condoned by less-than-scrupulously dressed goblins. And it doesn't stop until January 1st. Complete nutritional insanity. We got through potato-fest. We renounced October-fest. Can we really stomach two months of winter-fest? Its eight weeks from "hellth"!
In honor of the two month hiatus from good eating I'm posting some healthy eating suggestions. That's right. We may be swimming upstream against the holiday current at the Top of the Morning., going against the Merry Christmas grain, and resisting arrest by the PC police (Party Correct Police) to get you through to the New Year with your blood sugar levels in tact. No worries. You're worth it. There may even be a recipe in this for some of you Top of the Morning faithful. Did I just say recipe? Guys don't do recipes. Okay. So I'll have the Top of the Morning staff pass along this killer tomato soup recipe.
Check back this week for the post on artificial sugar I've been promising and a couple of other healthy thoughts between now and Thanksgiving.
Until the soups on, eat well, live well.
Join author David G. Woolley at his Promised Land Website.