"...everything is gray. I watch, but nothing moves today." Dr Seuss, My Many Colored Days
Upon looking into the mirror, I noticed a glaringly silver hair right in the middle of my part, towards the front of my face. Now, gray hair is nothing new to me- a college housemate used to amuse herself by yanking out gray hair she'd find in the back of my head, when I'd have my hair in a pony tail. This is the first time I've seen one out in the open, though. I think I'm going to call this little friend, "Bailout."
My usual distractions from the irritating, heart-sinking world of politics ranges. In days past, I would hop in the car and zoom around, finding something new. Or, I would argue relentlessly in forums (fora? foraminifera? Gewurztraminer, as my spell checker recommends?) dedicated just for that purpose. Sometimes I would attack a project. Bambina is napping, or else we'd be at Lowe's right now, looking for something to make a raised garden. I just need to hammer.
So, sometimes I fall back upon Food TV. I fell in love with "good things" a long time ago, watching Martha Stewart's "From Martha's Kitchen" and later her Living show. This escalated to watching Food TV and learning how to do incredible things with a roux, or with brioche. This may just be the spine to all of the organic, whole, local rigamorale I put us through on a daily basis. At any rate, if I'm going to make a chocolate chip cookie, rest assured, it will not be from a tube with a little dough man on it.
And here is what I see:
Commercial: The scene opens on an idyllic backyard, as one mom (Mom 1) pours red liquid for another mom (Mom 2). A party is implied, with kids in the background, and typical party fare about.
Mom 2: (raised eyebrows) "Oohhh, that has high fructose corn syrup in it."
Mom 1: (glibly, perhaps a bit archly) "So?"
Mom 2: "Well, you know what they say..." (trails off, fumbles a bit, looks sheepish).
Mom 1: "What? That it's made with corn? That it has no artificial ingredients? That it's fine in moderation, just like sugar?" She laughs at Silly Mom 2, and hands her a glass. Mom 2 looks at first embarrassed, but shakes it off to laugh with Mom 1 and enjoy her mixture of hummingbird food.
Dear GOD. What? The ad ends with the logo for the Corn Refiners Association at the bottom. Well, of course. That makes sense. Ethynol is slinking back into the place where New Coke and Clear Pepsi retreated, as it dawned on people that it creates a heck of an environmental impact just to get corn to a place where it works not quite so efficiently on cars as petroleum still does. Okay, so that's Food TV. Since Scripps Network took it over, actual chefs have left, and entertainment has taken over. Along with Sandra Lee, who probably won Miss High Fructose Corn Syrup at one point in time.
Click. Let's try my old pal, Martha. She still strives for the best. I page through the latest installment of her Everyday Food magazine, when lo and behold, there on page 41- what the HELL? It's an ad, adroitly placed opposite the "Between the Lines" column where the Martha Stewart Everyday Food people go through all the typical weird ingredients in packaged food to describe their impact.
And there, in the new MS Living magazine. Another one. Interestingly enough, the line that is repeated is that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is safe "in moderation." Does anyone even know what moderation even is anymore? Let's actually let our brains do the thinking, rather than TV.
Ketchup, bread (yes, even high end whole wheat), salad dressing, canned soup, peanut butter, cereal... it's in all of these. If you are not going out of your way to avoid buying these items that contain them, your "moderation" card is already filled by the time someone offers you a popsicle or Red Liquid Drink.
Let's read further. So, if it's made from corn, it's "natural," huh? The type of corn that HFCS is made from is the type of corn that even cows don't like to eat. It's very high in starch (important for the process that the corn syrup goes through to become HFCS) and is very likely to be genetically modified as well. Here is a really good, step-by-step description of how HFCS is refined. It turned Mr. Clarateaches and myself off of the stuff for good. Do we occasionally partake in some fake frosting at a party? Sure. But do we refuse to buy HFCS products? Pretty much all the time. We're still working out the kinks, and occasionally notice that something (Dannon yogurt? Hello!) contains it where it really isn't necessary.
People can put any crazy thing they wish into their bodies. But an AD? Trying to convince people that avoiding it means that you're a blithering, stammering idiot? And that eating it purposefully is just fine, A-OK, and just like sugar?
I need to go hammer something now. Okay?