IT'S THE PITTS - THE VEGETARIAN COWBOY

Lee Pitts

My grandpa always warned me that before I hired any man I should, “Watch how he eats.” I never understood what grandpa meant until recently.

I needed an extra hand to work some cattle and the wife was tied up with her regular job, so I hired a “day laborer.” What a misnomer! He didn't last the “day” and he definitely was not a “laborer.” I should have known when he showed up wearing gloves. Anyway, for the noon meal I volunteered to treat at the local fast food joint. At the counter my temporary employee ordered his meal in a very low whisper so I couldn't hear. That is, until the cashier announced it over the loudspeaker to the cook. “Double cheeseburger WITHOUT the meat!”

It turns out I had hired a vegetarian to be a “cowboy!”

I asked my lunch date if maybe he wasn't being a bit hypocritical, like a vegetarian who eats fish and chicken. “A cheeseburger has to have beef in it or it isn't a burger,” I explained.

“Not so,” he replied. “How about soy burgers and vegetarian burgers?”

“If you want to eat hamburgers made from ‘hydrogenated vegetable protein,'” I countered, “then you should get a job herding ‘tofus' instead of cows.”

It really upsets me how the word “burger” is being desecrated these days. But I must admit it's all our fault. Many years ago we got off on the wrong foot when we called it a “hamburger” even though it contained no “ham” and our “hot dogs” contained no dog. (Except, of course, in some countries). Because we didn't protect our good name then, now we have “hamburgers” made with seaweed, hot dogs made from tofu, and meatloaf made with eggplant. Which by the way, contains no egg. It's like nonalcoholic beer... you can call it what you want, but that still doesn't make it beer.

Mislabeling has negatively effected all of animal agriculture. We now have “Milk” of Magnesia, Egg Beaters and salmon being sold as “steak.” Forming salmon into a single parched piece of former fish and calling it a steak is akin to calling a hamburger a “cow patty.”

It's just not right!

We should have taken the legal steps necessary years ago to trademark or copyright names such as steak, milk and eggs. But we saw no need. After all, beef doesn't need a label because it contains only one thing ... beef. Pork and beans contain two things ... pork and beans. But have you read what's in a soy burger or soy milk? Enriched partially hydrolyzed soy, mono nitrate preservatives and monocalcium phosphate guanylate. It sounds like fertilizer to me!

I am all in favor of stricter labeling laws. For example:

A burger must be made from beef and sausage must have pig in it somewhere. No substitutes and no more mystery meat.

Eggs that don't come out of the rear end of a chicken are not “eggs.” Likewise, “milk” that doesn't come from the udder of a goat or a cow is not milk. And goat milk barely qualifies.

Just as a fruit bowl is not a real dessert, there is something very fishy about sushi-fied “steaks” as a main course. “Dairy products” without expiration dates that require no refrigeration should be removed from the shelves immediately.      

Vegetarian hash, soy burgers, cream-less ice cream, and bovine-less butter should be labeled for what they are going to eventually become: LEFTOVERS.

www.LeePittsbooks.com







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