FULL FRONTAL LOBE

An uncontrollable pressure relief valve for the questionably sane.

HoneyBaked Salt Pork–

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Food, the original product

I must have eaten six pounds of HoneyBaked Ham over the Easter weekend, and I am sincerely regretting it. Naturally I’m familiar with the enemies of pork products, yet I pay them no heed.  They say pigs are filthy animals, you shouldn’t consume too much of it, the fat will clog your arteries, it gives you body odor, it makes you go to hell, blah blah blah.  I don’t eat as much as I used to because of this damnable arthritis, so my overall intake isn’t my worry.  And in case you didn’t pick up my hyperbole, I didn’t actually eat six pounds of ham, it was probably more like a half pound, a reasonable yet man-sized serving.   But truth be told I can feel whatever garbage they pump into that hyper-processed meat.  The sodium level has to be off the charts, I haven’t been able to get my wedding ring off in over 24 hours (the official and highly accurate Wedding-Ring- Sodium test).  And who knows what other crap is in there?  Salt is the least of my worries.  I’m sure it’s listed somewhere, and one of these nap times I’ll undertake the effort of actually finding out specifics, but I know they used more than smoke, water, and honey to make that damn ham.  My unquenchable thirst at 2:30 a.m.  is another testament to the crazy amount of salt in there, many desperate single-handed slurps from the sink awoke my 23-month-old son, but that’s not the salt’s fault, I should have closed the bathroom door.

That it has additives in it isn’t what bothers me.  It’s the bigger picture: the fact that there’s a lot of less-than-healthy additives and we’re either being duped or under-informed about it.  To take it a step further, I think the illustrious HoneyBaked Ham company shouldn’t change anything about their recipe, it’s beloved by millions.  Nor do I think they should be regulated and forced to stamp “Full of Fucking Sodium” on their company’s beautiful pig asses.  I’m more upset that we’ve arrived at a point in time where something as simple as meat is harming our health and we’re too stupid to realize it.  Nothin’ wrong with pork, I worship at the temple of pig, just like every other fucking hipster Food Network groupie in Western Civilization.  However, so much of our food supply is optimized for our convenient consumption while maximizing said food supply’s corporate profit margin.  Sounds great, right? Everybody gets convenient amounts of affordable food and someone makes a buck off it.  Perfect.  Except that our beloved HoneyBaked Hams probably don’t fall into the “good for you” category the way a less monkeyed-with ham would.  The marketing is such that we think we’re buying a delicious ham encrusted with that desirable, crunchy, honey glaze.  We think it’s just a simple piece of nutritious meat, while it’s actually a factory-raised, genetically modified piece of pork product laden with countless corporate-engineered additives of dubious nutritional value.  It’s not “meat,” it’s a “product” that’s been analyzed and modified, probably patented, and has more relevance as a line item on a profit-and-loss statement than as sustenance.

Like I said, the problem isn’t actually the ham, not its grotesque existence per se, it’s the fact that we got to a point where we can’t distinguish the difference between an unprocessed piece of meat and one that looks like a Christmas decoration.   There is a frightening gap between the reality we perceive and the actual reality of life (all metaphysics aside, please, for the sake of argument).  Look, I get it, it’s great to have so much convenience that it breeds naiveté, it’s one of the benefits of civilized society.  We can have our hydrogenated-oil-laden cake and eat it too.  Being fat used to signify someone with status; poor people used to be skinny. We can afford to be stupid because the superstructure is in place; all of us standing on the shoulders of giants.  And finally, finally, there seems to be a sincere contingent of people who are starting to wonder what happens when the giant dies.  I used to think I was alone, but now I see it everywhere.

Although I’m technically alone with most of these thoughts, I know there are others out there like me because of the suggestions Netflix gives me. I know, I know, the conspiracy theorists among you feel more comfortable with the idea that there’s a man behind the curtain intentionally homogenizing and streamlining our tastes for the sake of driving an oligarchical society fueled by corporate profit, but I don’t buy it when it comes to Netflix.  They are, however, somehow linked to my brain, allowing them to (benevolently, I pray) suggest spot-on videos for my particular tastes (Ok, maybe not spot-on, more like decent enough). Like most middle-class American bourgeois, it’s easy to figure out my personality type by visiting my Netflix queue.  Meyers-Briggs ain’t got shit on the Netflix personality test.  Talk about peeking behind the curtain! If you really want to understand someone, take five minutes and review their past six months of Netflix activity.  Mine, if it isn’t already obvious, is littered with conspiracy and food documentaries.  I know how it looks, but you’ve got to believe me when I say I’m not a total nutjob.  I’ve kept my mouth shut for so long because I have fear of being judged as a whacko, someone who doesn’t deserve to live in our wonderful land because I don’t “appreciate” it.  But at the end of the day I’m just a man observing the world around me and I can’t help seeing what I see.  Sure, my perspective is a subjective one, but aren’t they all?  I think my point is that even the nutcases are going mainstream, and we’re all watching the same stuff.  Then we post our self-indulgent reviews online so we can recruit more nutcases.  So, I wonder when is the dam going to break?  When will we all wonder if we’re the nutcases, are they the nutcases, or are all of us fucking crazy?

Soon, I fear, we will have incrementally convinced ourselves that the rotten tripe we’ve been propagandized  (i.e. advertised) to buy is not only delicious, but necessary for our health and survival.  The giant only has to decide what they want to print on the label to convince us of its legitimacy. Now I know some of you are going the Soylent Green route of thinking, but just hold on for a sec (For all you little kids out there that haven’t seen the movie, it’s a terrible film with a decent idea, like many, many Charlton Heston projects.  The plot takes place in a dystopian future and they don’t have any food.  The the powers-that-be install a program of euthanizing the elderly and processing their carcasses for resale back to the public as little green squares of crunchy “nutritious” food called Soylent Green) .  Cannibalism is grody and generally frowned upon in our modern society, but it’s not the human ingredient in Soylent Green that disgusts me, it’s the processing of a piece of living flesh into a perfectly symmetrical green wafer.  I hope I never have to eat one of my fellow humans, mostly because we’re disgusting, foul beasts ourselves and I’d have an impossible time not wondering if they had any weird hygiene hang-ups like me.  But if I ever do, I hope it’s around a campfire–I hope I get to put a juicy athletic calf on a spit myself, braise it for a few hours, let it rest, and chomp into it with a greasy grin, because if I’m starving and someone hands me a flaky green wafer, I’ll only eat it after trying to hold off as long as I can.  Might as well go out with some verve.

Do yourself a favor next time you’re eating something from the interior aisles of your local grocery megaplex, try to read between the lines on the label.  Because it’s only a matter of time until the giant learns how to make turds taste delicious, and we all know turds are loaded with fiber.

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Written by billlobe

June 6, 2011 at 8:30 pm

One Response

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  1. Love the Soylent Green reference. I actually enjoyed that movie, but I have bad taste in movies. I guess you can figure out what my Netflix queue is filled with… Great stuff.

    Kim Brinson

    June 23, 2011 at 8:41 pm


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