Monday, July 2, 2012

Mentiras (Lies)

When did honesty go out of fashion? Or when did lies become so fluid and easy to spew? Guilt free, even. I'm often unpopular for being brutally honest. Or so I think. No one has the stones to tell me the truth, so I'm speculating. But I haven't told a lie in 20 years, since I walked out of an ad agency job and told no one I was leaving NYC for Atlanta. I just wanted to see how long the big dumb corporate machine would take to notice I was gone. I was so important to their creative department. Someone probably noted the mold growing on my coffee cup after two weeks and I was found out. Clearly an integral member of that team. But I didn't LIE, per se. I just didn't say anything. This is a Lie Of Omission. A favorite of honest people in denial. If you had asked me at lunch if I had plans to sublet my Brooklyn apartment and head back to Atlanta whilst still on payroll back in 1996, I would have answered, "Yes." But no one asked. And when my friend asks me why I'm so late for our meeting and I say I got hung up in traffic, that is absolutely true. I just left off the part about how I spent 30 minutes shagging Pedro to kill some time at the exit. It's not really lying, it's just not finishing the sentence.

Other not bad lies are the kind that keep you, "I'd love to go to your party but I'm SO busy that week...(cleaning my closet and catching up on Dexter Season 5)" and the one where you don't utter a word to your 35 year old friend who is 10 years and 10 pounds out of Skinny Jeans. You just don't want the responsibility of truth telling. It's way easier to just get in the car and drive. You look great. No, really.

But lately there seem to be more in-your-face lies. Dangerous stuff. Printed materials from your bank, things approved by government agencies like I dunno, the FDA, presidential election bribes and trickery that is somehow allowed and food labeling FRAUD. Yesterday I heard about a book that sounds super intriguing so I ordered it immediately. Extra Virginity is about the underbelly mafia world of fake olive oil. Turns out that running guns and drugs is silly and obvious and the police are all over you. Sticking cheap soy oil in a bottle and dyeing it greenish and labeling it 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Italy is a $700million a year business. I know! Right? Test yours right now on the counter. Pour some in a cup and stick in the fridge. If it coagulates, it's the real deal. Maybe. I usually use California Olive Ranch Oil and they passed the test but most of that imported crap at the grocery store? Bertolli? Nope. Turns out the $7 liter bottle at Trader Joe's is more than a loss leader. It's really expensive Canola. I don't even want to know what's in the Charles Shaw wine. But I guess if you can buy a blood pressure medicine that is actually compressed dry wall mud and road paint, you can fake olive oil. But how unscrupulous have all these corporations become? Is it because we're so used to living in the Age of Advertising that we can't even distinguish between a sales pitch and an actual mis-truth?

Newest scam on the horizon of course is "natural" and "grass fed"...the loop holes you could fit an RV in. Natural flavor could be anything that used to be found in nature. Like horse shit. Ever wonder why they don't list the "flavor" on the label? Because you don't wanna know. Grass fed could mean that you fed it grass ONCE and stuffed it full of fruit loops, cigarettes and Bubble Yum for it's entire life except for five minutes. All of a sudden, you've got a $20/lb hog on your hands. I talked to a so called Heritage Hog Farmer the other day and this dude gets left over pigs from wherever auction and whatever breed, brings them back to his property, hangs out with 'em, fattens them up, gives no shelter so they're "free range" and then loads them onto a trailer to be taken to "some processor" in another county to slaughter them "he's not sure how" and then his cute little hippy dippy Agrarian Renaissance face is the mascot of this "Heritage Breed" now available at the local bullshittery $12 burger joint. Like the "kobe" beef scandal a few months ago. It's like one guy tried it, got away with it and then all of a sudden you're scratching for a slider made of dog food at $30.

It's like a hobby for some people. The lying. Making up things they never intend to follow up on and dodging phone calls when you try to find them and hold their dirty feet to the fire. And then the grown up equivalents of the dog ate my homework ensue. It's embarrassing.

We were outraged for five whole minutes when we found out that Pink Slime was in the Ground Beef, sawdust in shredded cheese and donations to charities are misappropriated to allow for private jets and Cholera outbreaks---just so much to keep up with we can't even get mad. And so we just shrug, go to Yoga class, drink our wine and move on. It's not a surprise that we can't trust politicians, but when medical, food safety, legal and governmental professionals just make stuff UP on a regular, you feel a little uneasy. It's a veritable Where's Waldo the Honest Guy game. Who's accountable?

One farmer I know who actually does walk the walk said, "you'll never REALLY know what goes on with a farm. All you have is the farmer's good word." I like to think that still exists out there and especially with food. We spend so much time learning and reading labels and trying to buy the right stuff, so I guess I need to befriend an olive rancher. So ask questions, get intimate with your food, know its history. Pay attention to the man behind the curtain.
Real Liver Pate
This is an easy way to get some organ meat goodness, make sure you use only liver from REAL grassfed animals. Pork, chicken, beef.

-for a pound of liver...lightly saute livers in a pan over medium high heat in butter until just cooked. Not too over cooked, they get smelly and rubbery. Add salt and pepper. While still warm add liver and cooking liquid remaining to food processor and add 1/2 onion and 2 chopped garlic cloves. Crushed sage 1/4 teaspoon. Coconut oil, touch of heavy cream. Blend, put in tupperware and enjoy on crackers, a liverwurst sandwich...