MARTHA SEZ: ‘We could have been eating butter, eggs and cream all along’

In spoken language, it makes a difference where emphasis is placed. For example, there is a drink I like, made with gin, called a white lady. If I say “a white LADY,” the drink sounds romantic, reminding me of Shakespeare’s Dark Lady. But if I call it “a WHITE lady,” it sounds kind of unhip and vaguely political. Ordinary life is full of pitfalls these days.

Products are increasingly being promoted for what they are not rather than for what they are. Instead of accentuating the positive, advertisers point out desirable negatives.

My mother sometimes served the family Morton’s chicken pot pies. It was a great joke around the dinner table when she announced one evening, “They say new, improved Morton’s pot pies have no soggy undercrust, but look–that’s because they have no under crust at all!”

At our house, the slogan “no soggy undercrust” became a shorthand way of saying that something was being deceptively pitched.

Years later, when high cholesterol was recognized as a contributor to heart disease and stroke, food labels on grocery store shelves were blazoned with the claim, “Now! Cholesterol free!” No matter that the food in question–peanut butter, for example–was a vegetable product that wouldn’t contain cholesterol anyway.

Trans fat, or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, is now the villain of the lipid world. Not so long ago, we thought that partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening was better for us than butter. So nice and white and sanitary looking, too! Trans fat is used in margarine, nondairy creamer, store-bought packaged dough, cookies and snacks and restaurant deep fryers.

Now we learn that this wonderful trans fat– a product so useful and inexpensive to make, a product so odorless and tasteless, so slow to go rancid, a product that is basically not a food at all– is implicated in stroke, heart disease and diabetes. According to the Mayo Clinic, it raises our level of bad cholesterol and lowers our good cholesterol.

Lard is better for us! We could have been eating butter, eggs and cream all along instead of inuring ourselves to Tub O’ Goodness and other ersatz dairy products. And listen to this–just because a box label lists the trans fat content as zero grams does not mean that the product contains no trans fats. It means only that the product contains less than half a gram per serving.

I’m sorry to get all preachy and alarmist on you, because I really hate when other people do that. The media just love to sensationalize; I’m always complaining about it. But I do think it’s important for you to know that all products from my Martha Allen free-lance writing business are 100% sustainably sourced and trans-fat free, nor do I harvest whales.

Gluten is the new scapegoat. Never mind that human beings have been eating bread, a wheat gluten-based food, since the dawn of history.

Go ahead, eat raw meat–although I can’t help but wonder what ever happened to those horrid little trichinella worms we learned about in junior high school science class. You remember, they form cysts in people’s muscles, and are the reason our grannies always overcooked the pork. According to a United States government site, you are at risk for trichinosis if you eat raw or undercooked meats, particularly bear, pork, wild feline (such as a cougar), fox, dog, wolf, horse, seal or walrus.

The aforementioned meats are, however, gluten free, so that’s good to know.

Another heartening fact is, unless you are eating Dolly the sheep, or some other cloned animal, which is fairly unlikely as I see it, the meat you eat will be GMO free.

What does GMO stand for? Genetically modified organism. A plant or animal whose genetic material has been tampered with by scientists by means of genetic engineering.

Corn syrup is very bad by today’s standards, don’t ask me why. I hardly need to mention that anything produced by the Martha Allen freelance writing business, and also any soap I might happen to produce, are GMO-free, gluten-free and cruelty-free, pretty much. Also, no soggy under crust.

Why not enlarge on these techniques and extend them to other areas of your life?

On a dating site: Never done hard time, contagion-free, toupee-free. Or a resume for the career of your dreams: No current gang membership, never known to smoke dope in the parking lot during break, not a spy from a rival company. You can go from there.

Have a good week.