Final Word

By Jeff Girod

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Posted November 23, 2011 in News

Pizza and fries? Say “ah-h-h.” That’s two helpings of vegetables for you, Mr. Good Body.

The House of Representatives passed a bill last week allowing pizza and French fries to remain classified as vegetables in federally funded school lunches. A 2010 child nutrition law had demanded schools to improve the nutritional quality of lunches served to 32 million U.S. school children. The nerve! (But that was before influential lobbyists representing frozen food companies—such as Heinz, General Mills and Kraft—made their own convincing argument to politicians: “Here, take this pile of money.”)

We all know politicians are do-nothing corrupt pieces of monkey vomit out to get rich while screwing everything and everyone else. But holy crap, are you serious? Pizza is a vegetable? Put on some pants once in a while and try to act like a responsible, contributing human.

I guess we should be happy lawmakers finally agreed on something . . . Even if it’s a law that everyone under the age of 8 should give up taking deep breaths, put on 200 pounds and replace kickball with a fleet of Hoverounds.

But in the interest of government bipartisanship maybe somebody in D.C. can riddle me this: Exactly what part of pizza is a vegetable? Is it the “pepper” in pepperoni? The indiscriminate flecks of gristle in sausage? Or are we just assuming every slice of pizza is going to have mushrooms on it? Because I don’t care how badly we’re supposed to eat vegetables, I would rather eat the pizza box than a mushroom.

And believe it or not, the pizza box may be more nutritious than what federal guidelines currently require. According to current USDA standards, if a plain slice of cheese pizza contains just two tablespoons of tomato paste, it satisfies the definition of a serving of vegetables. Two tablespoons—I usually drip more on the delivery guy.

Never mind that tomato paste has six times the sodium content of a single small tomato; or 50 percent more calories; or only about two-thirds the Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Vitamins, shmitamins, they’re overrated, am I right? So are exercise and sunlight, seeing your toes and not seeing your dead grandparents when you attempt a jumping jack.

And who wants to live forever? It’s all pretty much downhill after third grade. Here Timmy, take this slice of Chicago-style deep crust and find a dark corner to curl up in and lose consciousness.

But as long as powerful lobbyists are tossing money around, why stop at defining pizza and French fries as vegetables? Most cafeteria trays are green . . . let’s call them vegetables, too. Hey, I just thought about something orange and “carrot-y.” That should hold me over for the next 5-7 servings. Consider it a V8 without all that pesky bottle opening and iron.

In fact, if you’re a multimillion-dollar international conglomerate with anything questionable, lead-based or potentially toxic, just bake your troubles into a potpie and we’ll shovel your unmentionables down the gullet of a school-aged boy or girl. But please, no broccoli. That stuff’ll kill you.

And really what do we know about these vegetable-pimping “doctors” and “dieticians”? Sure, they sound smart. But if vegetables were so good for you, why haven’t these lab-coated super geniuses found a way to make vegetables taste more like pizza and French fries?

And who needs vegetables anyway? Or fruit? Or water? Or oxygen for that matter? Hell, let’s just auction school breakfasts and lunches, eBay-style, to the highest bidder. And whoever wins, we’ll find a lobbyist, a publicist and a smiling politician to look into a teleprompter and make it all sound so logical and legal.

Sure, you might resist at first. But eventually you’ll stop thinking so clearly. It’s bound to happen as we slowly replace all of your food groups with tasteless, odorless, doughy lard pudding. (We’re still working out the details with the frozen food lobbyists. They’ve just been so busy, what with bribing everyone, super-sizing America’s 32 million kids and making Tim Tebow not suck.)

Now open wide. You’ll feel better after you eat this corn dog. I picked it fresh from our nacho cheese garden.

Contact Jeff Girod at finalword@ieweekly.com.


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