Sunday, 17 February 2013

all lost in the supermarket

I put some music on, made myself a coffee and sat at the kitchen table. Opened the laptop, checked e-mails, looked at weather forecast for tomorrow and then went to check the twitter feed.
There was a tweet by Billy Bragg with a link to an article on the Guardian.

The irony! Almost at the same time, as if by divine synch, Joe Strummer's voice filled the room:
"I'm all lost in the supermarket
I can no longer shop happily"

I clicked and went on reading: yep, another article about the horse meat scandal.
First time I read about it, my natural average-Italian reaction was: so what? A horse burger rather than a beef burger...
It's a common meat in many part of Italy and if you ever had low iron in your blood exams, horse meat  would have been the cure for it.
Back in high school, one of my classmate's dad run a horse-meat only butcher shop. When the mad cow disease hit, they become rich. People were queueing outside the shop on Saturday afternoon, much to the dismay of my classmate that had to give up to the afternoon disco to help his parents.

Obviously, the fact that horse meat seems "off" for English, pretty much like rabbit meat, is something I  came to terms with: it's the same with Korean and dog meat, it's part of their traditional food culture, no matter what we, as Western people, think of them eating Lassie or Rin Tin Tin.

With the passing of days, the scandal grew, news emerged making it look like a colossal fail on part of the UK government (but not only) to provide the citizens with a very basic, but apparently not very valued, right: health and safety.
Isn't it ironic? With all the craziness related to health and safety, all the "warning! This nuts may contains nuts" labels on nuts packages and similar, here we stand: unsure of what we're chewing, not sure whether we're taking in drugs, antibiotics or just (gasp!) meat.

Going back to the article Billy Bragg linked, I clicked on it however not because of interest in the story itself.
It was the picture. I couldn't understand what it was: I looked at it, tilted my head one side and then the other, got my face really closed to the screen, then very far.

Honestly: WTF is that???

I frowned at the image for a little while then I gave up: I clicked and went to read the photo tagline.
It reads: "A laboratory worker tests beef lasagne. Photograph: Pascal Lauener/Reuters"

Beef lasagne??? You're telling me that "thing", for lack of more fitting word, is a frozen beef lasagne?!? Seriously??
It's so nasty to look at, I felt a little wave of nausea hitting me. 
I can understand the burgers: a burger is a burger, it looks like a burger, end of story.

But lasagne?!? 
First of all, the notion of buying frozen lasagne is downright insulting. Sorry, but that's how it is. 
Lasagne is an earthy meal that you don't simply shove in the microwave and that's it. It's a Sunday lunch, where much of the fun is in making it, comparing who makes the best lasagne (i.e. my mum) and then savour the leftovers at dinner by reheating them in a pan.
Secondly, if anybody ever made lasagne at home and then froze them, they knew for sure they don't look like that when you take them out of the freezer. They don't look as something made out of clay and then colored! A simple look at it should be enough to put you off eating them. And in any case, horse meat would probably be the last ingredient contained in them I'd be worried about eating.

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