God I Miss Granny Clampett
By: Bill the Butcher
God I miss Granny Clampett! She was the old lady on the Beverly Hillbillies famous for cooking up concoctions out by the “cement pond.” Everything from “possum” to “shine” came rolling out. Back then it was funny because everyone just knew nobody really did that. All but the folks in Louisiana where I was born, who were eagerly hoping to pick up a few tips from Granny. Back in the day food bought in a store or café was pretty much the same as anywhere else. The green beans weren’t all that green, the corn, well, it was purt near white! See, what they did was cook the food up and then just can it as is, just like folks did at home, only the can was prettier, and it was supposed that the food companies had a tad more on the ball than Granny sheerly from volume. Write that down. There’s gonna be a test later.
There are several factors to be considered when producing food for the masses. When Ora Jean took her honey to the store in Ding Dong, Texas she gave it to the owner, who put it on the shelf, and most likely when Ora Jean came back next week to pick up her money all the honey would be gone. She dropped off five more jars and went shopping. That little store in Ding Dong would probably fit quite well in the rest room of HEB, the Goliath supermarket a lot of Texans depend on for their daily bread. HEB runs the home spun ads showing some guy growing green beans, a few family around him, and of course, the obligatory daughter in jeans. Always ends with, “This is such and such department at HEB.” A shack, two tractors, and a girl in faded jeans. If you buy that have I got a bridge for you, and it’s on isle five!
Now I’m just picking on HEB because I can see one from here. Walmart is just as bad. They’d sell you rat tails for toothpicks if they thought they could get away with it. Both corporate enterprises contend with the same problem. Ora Jean died a long time ago, and the bees all flew off. Enter Chinese businessman, Won Hung Lo. (This is my surprised face!) Won has a LOT of honey. Well, mostly honey, and therein is the problem. He’s not dropping off five jars of honey, he’s dropping off five OIL TANKERS full. Won, HEB, and Wally World all have to do the math. How much honey should they put on the shelves, how long can they afford it to sit there, and last, but not least, how can they make the honey for NOTHING and sell it for SOMETHING? By mixing it with cooking oil and calling it honey. Now that’s your surprised face!
Shelf life is very important. If you can find a way to keep something fresh then you extend shelf life. You could probably buy a Big Mac today, and Jesus can eat it when He returns. Driving down costs is important, too. Why have one hundred percent honey when a mixture of honey and vegetable oil will taste pretty much the same. (See above.) And one hundred percent pure beef. Sure. Flank, skirt, loin, eyeballs, tongue, private parts and noses. Hey! It’s one hundred percent pure beef, right? All coming from the Billy Joe Jim Bob beef department at HEB. Won is Billy Joe on steroids.
If you read ingredients you will be overwhelmed. I have a simple rule. If I can’t pronounce it, or it has more than two syllables I don’t eat it. Added water? That’s cool. That’s just the butcher sneaking his thumb on the scale. Salt, i.e. Sodium, well, it’s kinda extend shelf life, but next time you’re in the store check out the amounts in a pound of “one hundred percent” ground beef compared to the pre-pressed patties you buy because you’re too lazy to mash up your own. Then we progress all the way up to MonoTookItOutOfMyButtAndStuckItInYourMouth preservatives “to maintain freshness.” Wanna know how much of this stuff is out there? An undertaker friend of mine once told me when he entered the profession there were times where a funeral was delayed, and he worked hard to keep mama fresh. Now, due to additives and preservatives, a lot of bodies arrive pre-pickled. I Crappith Thee NOT!
Another thing is boxed food. Don’t even read the label. Just eat the box. It’s better for you. You know according to the FDA, Legos are fit for human consumption. Stop laughing. How do those chicken nuggets taste? Boxed food lasts a LONG time, and I mean a LOOOOONG time. Ever notice how the roaches always seem to linger on the box and not the macaroni inside? Jus Sayin. I think the boxed food craze began with all the “helper” things. Hamburger Helper, Tuna Helper, and a favorite in Arkansas, POSSUM HELPER! Read the ingredients. If you can’t scrounge up some meat, a little garlic, macaroni, tomato sauce, and some cheese, you deserve that bathroom break in the morning. There’s nothing magic in that box, except it may make it easier for my buddy the undertaker.
Save your fork, here comes the good part. FAST FOOD! There is no such thing as fast food. SOMEbody has to knock that cow in the head, and grind up them eyeballs so they can hand you that In and Out burger, OK? That is NOT the burger your mama made, you know, the one,with the bell peppers hanging out the side. And fast food scandals abound. What is amazing is what we can eat and not drop dead. Well, at least not right then, anyway.
I love chicken wings. It’s more of a social even than a meal. In Texas it becomes a challenge to produce a wing that is so hot you can light a cigarette with it. Along came Won. The problem with chicken wings is there ain’t much chicken on a wing. Hell, it’s just beer food anyway, who’s worried. Millennials, THAT’S who’s worried. They can’t be gnawing around some stupid bone, and they’re smoking pot anyway. Make the wings a nugget of another shape. Wait! Cost. Them chickens cost “X” and how do you mix an additive to a wing? Well, with a bone in wing you can’t, and the cost of de-boning all them wings, grinding up the meat, and at least TRYING to shape them like a wing . . .well, as you can plainly see, we have what’s called a cost issue right away. Ah So! . Just gotta find a replacement that is similar to chicken. Oh, did I tell you that about a million pounds of rat meat, shaped like chicken wings turned up coming in from China. Now, I don’t know if there’s any connection, but it just so happens that right after that, Sonic had those two guys in the car on their commercial advertising a two for one sale on, you guessed it . . . BONELESS CHICKEN WINGS! What’s wrong with you? Rats? They taste just like chicken.
Mexican food is a big part of the Texas scene. Well, it’s not really Mexican food, it something called “Tex-Mex” which is our way of ripping off someone’s culture and calling it our own, but down here even babies eat tacos. This style of food is easy to make, tastes great, and basically won’t really hurt you, all but the morning toilette, but BE A MAN! Well, wouldn’t you know it. You get a bunch of Yankees involved with something that costs next to nothing, and they’ll come up with a way to make it cost nothing. You do this because the primary ingredient in this cuisine is that one hundred percent pure ground beef we talked about earlier. Seems that Taco Bell was blending in a little silicon to “beef up” the taco. Their CEO even confirmed it, saying it had been FDA approved, and was safe for human consumption. In fact, it was he same type of silicon used safely for years in breast implants. Now, I’m just a simple ol’ boy from Austin, but I prefer my titties ala carte! God I miss Granny Clampett!
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