Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Possibility of a Potential Potluck Poisoning

The moment had arrived, the potluck was here, no longer mere plan, it was time to appear, with food, of course, to set before others, and engorge oneself.

But what should I give, in order to get? Bake a pie on my own? Cherries or no, Billy Boy I am not. In my kitchen I could concoct nothing, with no oven that works, no stove top that lights, no place to prepare a dish that would hopefully delight. It's true I'm a cook when I've got a good book, but without the essentials, no recipe's credentials can provide the guide to chow that will wow.

That was the moment I settled on how I would go to the "party". What was the excuse, the reason, for this feast? Wear Your Football Jersey To Work Day, invented in just the last two weeks . Do I own a football jersey? No. Was I going to buy one just for a potluck. No, or at least I was in no hurry.

I went to the store, bought a dollar bag of candy corn, looked for mixed nuts, decided they were too much, grabbed a can of party peanuts (how appropriate) instead, and had my ingredients for a fall snack for all.

My second thoughts loomed large as the day approached. Call out sick? Nah, thought I, I'll just nix the mix and get something rich. Back to the market (Trader Joe's this time) and cookies unlike your ordinary baked biscuits became my target. I pulled a few containers down from the cookie shelf (they have one, ya know) and settled on a nutless variety or two. With my cookies in hand, I thought "not enough", so why not provide a soda alternative too, like some juice or some tea for iced drinking stuff.

Pomegranate and unfiltered apple, a worthy couple of drinks that would incite some to grapple.

I went into work, my brown bag hiding my contributions to the luck, and waited to see if the food was out yet. I start late in the day, and am there half the night, so I figured the food would be out on the back tables where I too could display all my choices and their colorful labels.

But my juice was not cold! Oh no, was I that bold? Could I bring something in that was meant to be cool and ignore what I was told about bringing it ready , and so look like a fool and very unsteady?

I took my juice to the fridge, put it into the freezer, hoping I wouldn't forget it like some crazy old geezer. Express cooling will work, it just has to, I said, but my doubts were not going away.

I watched from my seat as the crowd swarmed over the food, the line growing long and the food growing low. While there were some lazies like myself who'd brought store-bought pies and cakes and even big boxes of cookies (my next door neighbor brought just a single six-pack of diet soda, just so he could load up his plate without feeling an ounce of guilt, not an iota) most had home-made dishes to fulfill hungry wishes. Of course upon seeing that cookies were already there, I took mine, wrapped them tight and hid them, making sure no one was aware.

The meal went fine, or so it seemed to me, but I hadn't yet eaten, and a few came to see and to ask why I'd avoided the line. I was without paper plate or bowl or cup, no food was at my desk, naught but my hiding cookies for which no one was looking.

After much coaxing and dear old Catherine's insistence (she'd made her own chili in a crock pot of spices, one of, I would guess, her very few vices) I got out of my chair and went for the vittles, a case less of hunger than lack of resistance.

The chili was low, almost down to a spoonful or so, but I managed somehow to scoop out enough to resemble a bowl. With that, a thin slice of cheesecake and some homemade black beans and Spanish rice, I had a meal that I considered quite nice.

But the thought then occurred to me, what if someone gets sick? How clean are our kitchens, how pure our fixings?

No body of government regulations looks over our shoulders in our domestic food preparations. The logic is clear, if it's okay for free people to take a voluntary risk, with friends, neighbors or even sometimes (horrors) complete strangers, and to eat what they fix, why can't I make some food from my home, to sell for a profit, ending my wage slavery if that's how I want it?

Next: The Great Football Jersey Disappointment, plus, If I Can Watch Your Kids While They're Waiting For the Bus, Why Can't I Cook Some Food and Sell it to You Without Someone Making a Fuss?


  1. You see a lot of police raiding the homes of women who have bake sales as fundraisers?

    Don't get me wrong, I think it should be as easy as filling out a form acknowledging the risk of being sued if you poison people. I know it's no where near this simple, but enforcement on this is limited to people who might pose a threat to large corporations (because private interests will control the government until we push to regulate their "donation" [bribe] practices).

    I don't think removing all food regulation is as clever of an idea as you wish it was. I think increasing regulations and penalties on large-scale food production is necessary because companies have been allowing tainted food to be sold and consumed because a recall is more expensive than the fine.

    You realize that companies want inflation, especially under a conservative (like the previous 8 years), because the fines become obsolete if the government is not raising the cost of the fine, thus breaking the law is profitable. It would be like making the penalty for theft a 10 dollar fine; everyone would be stealing items worth over 10 dollars.

    There are ways of ensuring that individuals can engage in the sale of food on a small scale without removing regulation and opening the door to more incidents. The regulation is really necessary for the large scale, and yet no one is arresting you if you were to sell pies.

  2. Oh, Ginx, what am I to do with you? Not that I don't see hope for you, you're far more reasonable than the average "liberal" Democrat. I think somewhere deep inside you an inner anarchist is just waiting to break free of your knee-jerk statism.

    You see a lot of police raiding the homes of women who have bake sales as fundraisers?

    Well, I'm not talking about temporary, occasional or one-time fundraisers such as school bake sales.

    I refer to the fact that if anyone wants to bake cookies (let's say) from their home oven and sell them for profit on a permanent basis for their own extra income (and not part of some non-profit fund raising) they will, if caught, at best be forced to shut down (and possibly fined, etc.) and required to be licensed, rent commercial space and have commercial, health department approved baking facilities before being allowed to legally continue making a living.

    I think increasing regulations and penalties on large-scale food production is necessary because companies have been allowing tainted food to be sold and consumed because a recall is more expensive than the fine.

    I think we in the US probably have one of the safest food supplies in the world, however, I'm no apologist for corporations; they exist only due to the State (the fantasy of the fictional corporate "person"), are constant seekers and receivers of government favors, and do many unsavory things, and the large food producing corporations are no exception.

    So I say, abolish the corporation along with its partner in crime, the State!


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