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Pass the Mono-Sodium Glutamate!

Updated on April 16, 2020
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Jim is an accomplished writer with many great literary achievements, most of which he simply made up.


The further we get from our past, the more idyllic it seems. In the pretense of sounding intellectual, I think I will call my new theory the inverted-retrospective-reciprocal-myopic-perception syndrome. I suspect that all those people in commercials that revel in everything that is all natural, wouldn't last long in the natural environment. Their concept of back to nature seems a bit removed from reality.

I think sometimes we become so enamored with our own supposed technological expertise, we assume our unfortunate progenitors were simply ignorant rubes. Sure, they would be lost with our digital environs but our technically proficient selves would be equally lost in their world, incapable of the elemental tasks of basic survival.

My grandpa, on the other hand, was a student of life and nature and...a philosopher! His philosophy didn't come out of a text book; it had much more substance, shaped by real-world experience gleaned over a lifetime. His was not the superficial animistic view that modern urbanites mistake for ‘nature’ but one based on the reality of the world he lived in.

It’s almost absurd when you compare the old and the new. Can you imagine ‘Granny’ in her kitchen, hair rolled up in a bun on the top of her head, in her apron laboring over a cook stove. She’s leans over her iron skillet with a wooden spoon to taste her homemade recipe.

“Hm-mm," she says. "Needs a little more mono-sodium glutamate, I think.”

See what I mean?

Grandma could cook! Sometimes I attempt to emulate her. In the kitchen, Grandma was to potatoes as Picasso was to paint. The skillet was a finely tuned precision instrument in her hands; a blunt object of culinary trauma in mine. My wife however doesn't cook often which is fortunate! I should have known she was making biscuits when I saw that 50-lb. bag of concrete mix in the kitchen. Her previous experiments with baking have somehow altered the known laws of physics. Her culinary arts now include the uncanny ability to 'transmute' bread into lead.

My grandparents were of the home-grown, fresh-from-the-garden, hand-picked, made-from-scratch generation that plowed, fished, hunted, sewed, canned, and churned. Today our idea of foraging is to drive around the block with our GPS until we find that new restaurant.

Eat your veggies ...or else!

One thing that hasn't changed since I was a kid is my fondness for food. However, food has always been a frequent source of conflict between my mind and my stomach. It seems they both can't agree on when I'm full. In matters of dispute, the mind is usually shouted down by the stomach's loud and incessant protests. Like choosing between dessert and ...'veggies'.

Innocent children, like myself, were forced to eat our vegetables before dessert. Remember dear sweet grandma? She could turn, like Jekyll-and-Hyde, from Aunt Bee into the food-Nazi! I was force-fed things that were supposed to be 'good for me' instead of the treats and sweets I craved.

So it was hold-you-nose-ands-swallow or else! That is not to say this strategy didn't have occasional disastrous side effects. If you hesitated before swallowing, your bodies self-defense mechanisms would kick in, causing the unpalatable mess to reverse direction about mid-esophagus and try to escape through clenched teeth.

My inner two-year old...

Sometimes I open up the fridge just to see what's there. Pondering over the contents inside, the left-overs that have been left over again, the fuzzy macaroni in the back, and other assorted semi-edible items - not all of which are readily identifiable. So there I was, minding my own business...and then I see it, the banana pudding. Yep, there it was right there in plain view, clamoring for my attention. Immediately I tensed for the conflict I knew was to come.

Why is it every time I see banana pudding, it's always clamoring for someone's attention? You think it'd just sit there and be quiet like the asparagus but no, not banana pudding! The brussels sprouts and cauliflower, you never see them causing a commotion. Turnip greens and rutabagas? They just sit there and don't bother anyone.

Maybe if I cover my eyes, pretend it's not there? "There is no banana pudding, there is no banana pudding," I kept repeating to myself. Now in case you wrongly surmise, I am not lacking restraint. It's not me causing the ruckus, it's my inner child.

I've noticed every time there's a dispute between the brain and the stomach, the brain loses? My theory is the brain tries to be logical and analyze every thing while the stomach just pitches a fit like a two-year-old in the toy aisle. Maybe I can blame that on the mono-sodium glutamate?

© 2011 Jim Henderson


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