Building For Rent

I never once imagined that those places
I loved in childhood would be changed
Or razed or disturbed into forms both alien and familiar
That the corner nook would be filled with dishes instead of books
The white walls washed a sprightly crimson and black
The woman behind the counter who smiled crookedly disappeared
Along with the cook’s milk jello which lingers on my tongue
A memory of both my mother and a lazy summer day;
I see the new façade but still see the old
Superimposed on each other
Present and Postcognition embraced


Culinary Faux Pas

A few months ago, my family went out to celebrate my birthday. We ate at a French restaurant where a number of my relatives tried foie gras for the first time. Not knowing that the pate was supposed to be spread like jam, my father treated it like a slice of ham or chicken instead, by sandwiching it on a piece of bread. My younger sister, who was the most wordly of us and had eaten at a number of fine restaurants, cried out in alarm. My youngest sister, even though not having tried foie gras herself, berated my dad for not asking about how to eat it. I was just embarrassed, not of my dad, but for him. My own sisters were yelling at my dad simply for not knowing enough, as if reaffirming to themselves they weren’t ignorant, or nearly as ignorant.

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What’s the Beef? Shake Shack vs. McDonalds

Today, I stopped by Shake Shack instead of McDonalds for a burger during lunch time. I convinced myself that even though I wasn’t eating healthily, I had picked the healthier choice: organic beef. Turns out I was under a mistaken impression. Shake Shack doesn’t carry organic beef but “100% all natural Angus beef.” What’s the difference between natural vs. organic beef? A lot.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, organic beef comes from cattle that has been:

  • Born and raised on certified organic pasture
  • Never received antibiotics
  • Never received growth-promoting hormones
  • Fed only certified organic grains and grasses
  • Must have unrestricted outdoor access

Beef is “natural” as long as it is miminally processed and includes no artificial flavoring, coloring, preservative or any other artificial ingredients. Natural beef doesn’t have to meet any of the criteria above for organic beef. So, chances are, you are not getting organic beef at Shake Shack. If you were, you’d be sure Marketing would be all on labeling it such. The good thing is, Shake Shack’s beef is hormone and anti-biotic free, but that doesn’t mean the cows weren’t fed on gummy worms. So next time you try to delude yourself about eating junk food like me, just remember it’s still junk.