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Around the Bluhmin’ Town


Judy Bluhm

Would you care for some grated wood pulp on your pasta? No, I didn’t think so. Me either. Hey, I didn’t think wood was edible! Seems to me we have a problem with our food supply when one of the most beloved and expensive cheeses is being packaged with sawdust (technically wood pulp filler)! Oh, and that’s if there is any Parmesan in that little package of grated who-knows-what that we are buying. Seems some packages have every kind of cheese except Parmesan, which means once again the buying public has been had…duped again!

Feeling like a Mars bar? No wait, Snickers and Mars have been recalled in 55 countries because of plastic pieces found inside the chocolate bars. Oh yea, who wants to bite into a soft, chewy, heavenly confection and lose a tooth or choke to death? Yikes, what is happening here?

A lady in Utah was preparing a luncheon for Sunday parishioners after the church service one day and opened up a can of green beans. Upon close examination, she noticed one of the beans was not green, but black. No wait, that’s not a bean, it is the head of a snake that just slid out of the can! The minister heard a barrage of swear words coming from the church kitchen that he had never before heard in God’s House! Running as fast as he could, he got there just in time to pick the poor woman up off the floor as she lay screaming. They prayed together over the hideous snake head floating in the saucepan with the beans on the stove.

Preparing food should not be so traumatic! Eating food should be a pleasure, not a dangerous and potentially life-threatening experience! We should be able to grab a bag of lettuce and not worry about e-coli. And if we like a certain ice cream, not die from Listeria. And no, wood pulp doesn’t belong in cheese! And who knows what all the chemicals are doing to us. Get a glimpse of Monsanto workers spraying fields of vegetables in Hazmat suits with respirators looking like they have landed on Mars, but then we are supposed to eat those same veggies? Lordy help us.

Of course, Dear Readers, not only are we being poisoned, but we are being ripped off! The packaging of food products has been a sneaky and pervasive tactic to get us, the unsuspecting buying public, to pay more for less. From our “family friends” like Betty Crocker to Jif peanut butter, we are getting robbed. Jiff has two ounces less in its jars and brownie mixes are now an ounce less and even Keebler cookies has “downsized”  from its 14.5 ounce packages to 11.3 ounces. Potato chip bags are filled with air so they look bigger (they’re not) and even yogurt containers have bulked up so we won’t notice that we are now getting less!

Holy guacamole! The trickery never ends! A common brand of guacamole now has a domed package so it looks bigger…and we (the stupid consumer) are supposed to happily go along with the deception. Lies! And as if we don’t know the five pound bag of sugar we are buying is really only four pounds! Kraft cheese now has fewer slices in the package (same price). Yikes, so we are now paying more for less AND with the possibility of illness or death!

Oh, and to complete the trifecta of food fiascos, let’s not forget that the food industry has decided to package everything so tightly that no one can open anything up! Unless you have scissors, grips, razor blades, and maybe a few hemostats, nothing can be released from the “locked-in-forever” plastic wraps that now make cooking a Herculean task.

Back to what we are actually chewing, I guess there is hope. A lady in Washington State was out to dinner with her husband at a fine Italian restaurant, when she bit down on something very hard. Spitting the object out into her napkin, she thought it was an earring and put it in her pocket. Later she discovered it was a rare, purple Quahog pearl worth about six hundred bucks. The woman said that although she could have “choked, chipped a tooth, or swallowed the pearl,” she feels very lucky. Sounds like “pearls of wisdom” to me. Maybe we will find something good in our food after all.

Hmmm…I have almost talked myself out of cooking yet again. Okay, eating out doesn’t seem much safer. But maybe we just have to take our chances. So be cautious, my friends. Wash everything, read carefully, expect to pay more to get less, and call for a really strong man to help with opening anything up. If you bite down on a hard object, let’s hope it is a rare and beautiful gem that you can have made into a ring. But if something tastes like sawdust, stop eating immediately. Then pour a big glass of wine. It goes with everything and helps wash the wood chips down.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at