Since I've retired, I'm the one who's responsible for cooking dinner. Hey. Not a problem. I'm not a fancy cook; I like home-style cooking, as in corn bread, steak and gravy, potato salad, and pork chops. Not necessarily all at the same time.
After almost six months of kitchen duty, the menus are getting repetitive. I'm not opposed to trying a new recipe, although I think Larry shudders when I start clipping little squares from magazines. This week Larry has provided me with a good menu suggestion every morning. This morning's idea was Reuben sandwiches, which doesn't sound all that appetizing at 7:00 a.m., but the first three ideas worked out great, and by 5:00 p.m. I'm usually hungry enough that even fried chicken livers look good.
If you've never had a Reuben sandwich, it's made by putting corned beef, sauerkraut, and swiss cheese on some Jewish rye bread and grilling it in some butter. It's a deli staple and is usually accompanied by a big scoop of potato salad. I don't keep rye bread and corned beef in the "pantry", so this dinner required a trip to Food City.
I picked up the cheese, the kraut, the bread, but when I got over to the canned meat aisle, there was no corned beef. There was beef hash, canned chili, canned turkey, beef stew, but no corned beef. You know the kind I mean: the crumbly mystery meat that's usually "Packed in Brazil". On to Plan B. Since Chilhowie only has one grocery store, and the next nearest one is in Marion, about eight miles away, I thought I'd run by the Dollar General Store.
Was there a Plan C? Next stop was the Family Dollar Store. How can it be that there is not even one can of corned beef in Chilhowie? I made other plans for dinner and vowed to find out what had happened to the nation's supply of canned corned beef.
It didn't take much of a search to find out that in January canned corned beef started disappearing from store shelves. January? I read a newspaper every morning, watch TV news way too much, listen to radio, read magazines, and continuously surf the Internet like a huge great white looking for krill. This nugget of news has not been mentioned.
The cause of the shortage occured in Brazil where a major producer of corned beef has been banned from shipping its product to the United States. Banned. According to walletpop.com, two hundred tons of cooked beef products were recalled last year by Sampco, Inc., a Chicago company who imports meat from Brazil. The meat processed by this Brazilian company was found to have high levels of an animal drug, Ivermectin, which is used to treat parasites in animals. Yum-yum.
Grocery companies, like Wal-mart, refused to comment on the ban for the story on Walletpop. I suppose they thought no one would notice the empty shelves where canned corned beef used to be found. Why the secrecy? It appears that not only are we dependent on foreign sources for petroleum, we are also totally dependent on foreign nations for canned corned beef.
Let's see. We have Brazil, a fatty meat product, a Chicago company. In true Chicago style, perhaps Obama substituted the petroleum-producing agreement with Brazil to accomodate the loss of the corned beef sales. Plus the US government was able to eliminate yet one more tasty, unhealthy, cheap food product that many people depend on.
You know what this means, don't you? NO CORNED BEEF FOR YOU! (Sorry, soup Nazi.)