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Rated: E · Editorial · Environment · #1424921
A satirical commentary on our nation's food industry and impending food & energy crisis.
Ladies-night for Wife usually means plead-culinary-incompetence-to-the-parents night for Husband. Since they'd also planned a non-Andy-related activity, I broke my icy relationship with our apartment's food source: the freezer. My stomach cried "seafood!" and my eyes saw Shrimp Scampi by Birds Eye Foods - "The nation's largest processor of frozen vegetables ... and a lot more!" The bag even touted vegetables (albeit processed) as a key player in my healthy diet (but I already knew that, being married to a picky vegetarian and all.)

Fish, vegetables, grains and dairy in one sitting? King Tut would fawn over this pyramid (albeit nutritional).

After merely minutes in my sauté pan, a medley of scampi wonderfulness revealed itself beneath the frozen tundra. Shrimp, pasta, peppers, peas and spices only Marco Polo himself could've imagined presented themselves before my anxious face. I imagined vast trade routes crisscrossing the landscape to bring this feast from point A to point ME.

And then irony spanked me with reality: this now-steaming dish could have come from my own backyard. The shrimp could have been caught in the ocean only a stone's throw away. The peas, peppers and spices could have been grown in a local garden. The grain for the pasta could have been grown in the same nearby field where Bessie could have grazed and produced my milk.

Could have, should have, but wasn't. Why in this land of opportunity was I eating a meal that required the DOT to coordinate its arrival? How come I couldn't acquire these ingredients in my bicycle basket?

The truth is, I could have ... for this one meal. I could have even fed myself for the day, and even the week, from products obtained locally. But could the rest of you, and for how long (terraceadvocate@gmail.com)?

If there was a tear in the intricate spider web we depend on to stock our groceries with Arizonan vegetables and Wisconsin milk, could we feed ourselves? Wall likes to tout its farming heritage, but I have as much faith in its ability to feed itself as I have in the Historic Allaire Village smithy's to produce a Beowulf-worthy broadsword.

So, as Veggie and I raise firstborn, what faith can a father have finding food in an energy-faulty future? Maybe here. My frozen dinner resulted in the awareness that this product was "best by Sept 2009," which I translate as "feasible by FEB 2010" and "decent by DEC 2010." (Like the speed limit, add 5-15). And, as I continue to plan for the end of the world as I know it, I feel fine. On our child's third birthday, I know we'll be able to enjoy shrimp scampi! (Except, of course, for my wife.) By then our ocean's shrimp population will be so scarce that our celebratory, and once-commonplace, dish will be considered a delicacy. And it will be revered from town to town. And our child's gaze will shift to me, flash a snow-pea'd grin, and say "Thank you, Daddy. This tasty shrimp scampi."
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