Red Tennis Balls

Is it an artifical vegetable or an artificial fruit?Move over Fast Food nation. I just picked up a new book (2006 publishing date) from the liberry, and the first chapter is titled Red Tennis Balls. Ever since my job as a carrot juice maker at a health food store when I was 16, the whole US ‘natural’ food thing has fascinated me. In those long ago days I used to grind carrots and then squash them for 6 hours a day. The rest of the time I made things like beet and parsley juices for our local gourmets. I even tried all those soy ham and soy hot dog things, and even today I got some veggie burgers in the fridge waiting to be charcoal broiled! But what to do for toppings? That’s what me laugh most about this book titled The End of Food. The chapter on the tomatoes!

Well the author says he totally lost it and started to study the food world of corporate science, when all he could find for his simple salads were red tennis balls. He discovered that once there had been over 6,000 varieties of tomatoes available to the North American consumer. But now, sad to say, the typical factory mart has us down to a choice of about 3. Three red types of tennis balls, that is. So he set out to further study just how all this had happened?

He studied USDA statisitcs on the matter. He found out that one pound of tomato in fresh, sauce, and ketchup form had all lost nutritional value since the beginning of USDA record keeping time from what was currently being distributed. When he studied other foods, he found yet the same. He studied pig shit too. He studied chicken eggs, and he studied apples. All foods had less vitamins and minerals in them than from before. All had less taste. Hey, all of it was getting pretty nasty, too. Since we didn’t have so much pig shit everywhere back in the Old McDonald had a farm time, only the pig shit now entering our human food supplies actually was ‘nutritionally’ increasing in volume It was adding things like ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon dioxide into our living areas, and some locales were literally wallowing in it, so to speak.

Back to the tomatoes of Chapter One though. The author decided to go to grocery stores, farms, and corporate offices to ask folk just what exactly in their learned opinions were the characteristics of a good modern day tomato. Lo and behold, not one group of modern engineers of tomato production mentioned either taste, nor nutritional value, to be on their top seven important items on their lists. Thickness of tomato skins, appearance of being ripe while not, ability to go on long distant trips, etc. were all there, but not taste or nutritional value! In conclusion, the modern day American factory tomato cannot even be productively used to throw at the emperors of our land. They are like dull red tennis balls, and will not splatter. Better to hit them with the eggs from factory chickens, whcih due to less calcium now in their shells will actually help them splatter yet better. Go for it.

And Bon Appetit!

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