Kent Bernhardt: : Conspiracy on aisle four
I am by no means a gourmet chef, but occasionally I enjoy rattling a few pots and pans in the kitchen and whipping up a tasty homemade treat.
My specialty is broccoli casserole. I complimented my grandmother on her broccoli casserole once, and she rewarded me with the recipe. She even threw in a confidence builder; “Even you can make this.”
I’ve modified it somewhat through the years using slightly lower fat ingredients, but for the most part it remains pretty close to the original.
The core ingredient is, of course, broccoli. I say this for the benefit of any culinary novices in the audience.
The recipe calls for frozen chopped broccoli. Therefore, for more than 30 years, I have never bought anything but frozen chopped broccoli – until recently, when I received a shopping jolt.
My local grocer completely eliminated chopped broccoli from the frozen foods section. Whammo…no warning whatsoever. In its place: Broccoli Cuts.
OK, I’ll grant you there isn’t much difference. Cuts are only slightly larger than…uh, chops. But why the change?
At first, I blamed the government.
Maybe the change came about as part of the Sequester, I reasoned. While we slept soundly in our beds, someone at the USDB (United States Department of Broccoli) ordered the shift as a cost-saving device. Broccoli laborers, as a result of having to make fewer slices in the broccoli stalk, could go home earlier and save the government money.
The current administration has no “Broccoli Czar” (I checked), so we may never know what happened. Perhaps Bill O’Reilly will cover it in his next book “Killing Broccoli”.
Still, I was left to the task of chopping most the broccoli to the desirable lengths myself. Though inconvenient, I was able to manage. But this one incident has me wondering about Big Brother’s involvement in some of my other favorite foods.
For example, whatever happened to Alpha-Bits?
You remember that cereal; delicious, crunchy letters of the alphabet that used to float around in your bowl of milk. When you got down to the last twenty-five or so letters, you’d spend a half-hour making words out of them until they were too soggy to eat. I haven’t seen them in years.
Believe what you want, but I believe our government had a hand in the disappearance of that food too.
Someone at the Department of Homeland Security probably discovered that potential terrorists could pass secret messages in bowls of cereal, so they told Post to shut down the Alpha-Bits factory.
I also recently questioned the disappearance of my favorite cereal “Grape Nuts Flakes,” until someone assured me that I could still find them at Wal-Mart, though they’re probably produced by sweat-shop labor in a foreign country.
So I conclude that changes are rapidly occurring in the grocery aisles around us, many without our knowledge.
What’s next? Will we suddenly see Van Camps Pork ‘N Beans with Beano Added to protect the ozone layer? Will Dr. Pepper disappear because of malpractice lawsuits?
Only Big Brother knows for sure.
Kent Bernhardt lives in Salisbury.