Not Yet Sick

Written by: Paul Thompson

Primary Source: Thornapple CSA

Well, I guess I need to start out this morning by confessing that I am out of sync with the season. I’m sure that both of my regular readers have moved beyond Thanksgiving leftovers, but I ate two (count ‘em—two) turkey sandwiches yesterday. I made a special trip down to Goodrich to buy some of Aunt Millie’s Butter Top White Bread (conveniently on sale) in order to make the kind of turkey sandwich that reminds me of home. Chasing down the white bread tangent, I note Aaron Bobrow-Strain’s social history. He thinks that white bread went out of style because sometime in the ‘80s (remember then?) rich hipster boomers learned to associate the pneumatically enhanced, industrially produced loaves made from denatured wheat flour with Southern working-class white people—simultaneously eliding (while racially coding) widespread use of the pre-sliced and plastic-bagged sponge-cake comestibles by American racial and ethnic minorities. I think his version of the story overlooks a fact I observed personally during the aforementioned ‘80s: Anyone who grew up eating real bread (which is to say Europeans) thought that stuff was terrible!

But, as usual, I digress. Perhaps it was my misspent youth but once a year I hanker for a puffy white loaf sandwich. And that once a year coincides with leftover turkey. Make mine with mayonnaise. Of course, being a rich (globally speaking) white post-hippie hipster who would not normally be caught dead with a loaf of Aunt Millie’s, Mrs. Baird’s or Bunny whitebread in his grocery cart, I now make my once a year turkey sandwich creation with mayonnaise that contains olive oil. Don’t read the ingredients too closely unless you want to learn that the percentage of olive oil in that jar of Hellmann’s (Bring Out the Best®) is rather puny—but that would just lead to a digression that is unnecessary in the present context.

I also like to have sweet pickle chips, a few olives, a pickled pepper and some pepperonci on the plate. I like the idea of pickled okra, but I don’t really need to eat them. And then, for that final touch: Cheetos.

Well, in truth, Cheetos are not part of the traditional after-Thanksgiving snack supper—a tradition that goes on for at least a week after Thanksgiving, as this week’s blog cheerfully attests. But when I was down at Goodrich looking for the Aunt Millies, it just happened that the Cheetos were a weekly special. And how can you resist that, I ask? Or more to the point, why (beyond the obvious links between diabetes and obesity) should you resist that? I mean, if you are going to buy white bread, you’ve already blown any cool that you came into the store with, so you might as well throw some Cheetos in the cart, too. Maybe it’s just my personal household, but it seems that we are heading into that time of the year when all the usual food rules go out the window.

Pretty soon now that turkey in the refrigerator will be teeming with so many bacteria that even I won’t want to touch it. But up to now, I’m still not sick (of turkey sandwiches). So enjoy yourself: It’s later than you think.

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Paul Thompson
Paul B. Thompson holds the W. K. Kellogg Chair in Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. He formerly held positions in philosophy at Texas A&M University and Purdue University. His research has centered on ethical and philosophical questions associated with agriculture and food, and especially concerning the guidance and development of agricultural technoscience.
Paul Thompson

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