Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Yesterday I went to the grocery, and my first stop was the produce wing where I bought a cabbage. It was the same size as the leg of lamb pictured above. It cost 88 cents. I bought a bag of American grown seedless green grapes. They cost me $6.69.
As always I moved on next to the meat department's bargain bin, otherwise known as the "Manager's Specials". There was an elderly man in front of me. He bought nothing, for the meat discounted was a package of beef tenderloin steaks marked down to $15 dollars from $28. I passed on this as well, for I rarely eat beef, and I wanted a leg of lamb.
Men and sheep have lived together for millenia, for sheep are thrifty creatures who can live in arid, unforgiving, rocky lands. They were the meat of the Persians, the Greeks, the Corsicans, the Jews, the Arabs.
Not the meat of choice of modern Americans however. Go to some of the small town grocery stores between Nashville and Memphis and try to find lamb. No matter, though. Even if you could find it, would you be able to afford it?
This two pound leg of lamb cost 30.00 dollars. The five pounders were over 50 dollars.
A bag of potatoes to roast with the lamb would have been almost six.
I will not argue here with vegetarians or food scolds who think it would be better if we, the masses, avoided meat. Let us call a truce, for it will no longer be a case of avoidance but of affordability.
In every gilded age the rich feast, the poor eat gruel, and if you are someone who openly or covertly despises what were once called "useless eaters", this is how you feel it should be. Worker bees whose life is nasty, brutish, and short do not deserve Royal Jelly. Shed a fake tear over the Cratchits once a year and buy Tiny Tim a goose, then toss the foodless a bag of dry mac and cheese and canned green beans at the food pantry.
Those who would call me a bleeding heart will fail to find any ideological board to pin me to. I am a pragmatist. I have no party. I read, and I read history.
The new peasants work in cubicles and hospitals. They get shot by lunatics when they are called to put out fires. Perhaps they are police, laid off by bankrupt cities no longer able to even afford street lights.
History as always will have the last word for those who can hear-
Let them eat cabbage.