Thanks to Metro Times for publishing Russell Trunk’s hilarious lambaste of Jane Slaughter’s comments on Brit cuisine (“Letters to the Editor,” Metro Times, Jan. 7-13). I’m still laughing even though I finally figured out it was for real and not some Monty Pythonesque parody of a brolly-toting, bowler-wearing, Union Jack-waving Tory. I agree that there is some very fine cuisine to be had in the British Isles, but — come on now — who can defend baked beans on toast while keeping a straight face? I also loved his final patriotic plea: How dare Metro Times be dissing bangers when Tony Blair helped Georgie W. fight his war!
Thanks also to Jane Slaughter for turning restaurant reviewing into a full-contact sport. Keep up the fun! —Ron Citkowski, Rochester, firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t have a cow
Thumbs up to Jack Lessenberry’s commentary about the frightening reality behind Mad Cow disease and the meat industry’s feeding practices (“Why now, mad cow?” Metro Times, Dec. 31, 2003-Jan. 6, 2004). Americans blissfully purchase meat with no clue about how that steak found its way into the neat little plastic wrapped grocery package. Regretfully, I doubt that pressing our politicians to come to the rescue will improve food safety; the USDA was formed to aid agribusiness, not to protect consumers. Given that one-third of our oil use fuels the meat industry, it is unlikely that the current administration will make any meaningful changes. The best way to be sure the food on your plate is safe: Go Vegetarian! —Lisa Turner, West Bloomfield
I have been thinking about the latent mad cow possibility, as well as ubiquitous microbial diseases throughout the mainstream corporate meat supply. Since several years ago, the only beef I buy and bring into my house is one or another grass-fed or Certified Organic brand. When I go to restaurants for a burger, I go to yuppie restaurants for a yuppie burger, at yuppie prices. The meat is supposed to be custom-ground in small batches. I take it on faith that that is true. I pay a Shinola-level price to get Shinola-quality beef, which means I don’t eat much beef any more. But I see no reason to avoid beef or other meat altogether. After all, the Plains Indians have been eating buffalo for 10,000 years with no reported cases of mad buffalo disease.
Meat is not the problem. Corporate agribusiness is the problem. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for government reform, nor would I waste it shouting at our corporate government. I have been buying Shinola food from the fringe markets and the parallel markets for years now. I don’t make any more money than the average citizen.
If Mr. Average would rather eat one Mcburger a day than one yuppie burger a week, that is Mr. Average’s prerogative in a free country. Likewise, if Mr. Average would rather buy SuperFecal Bargain Madburger at SuperFoodCo than have a real butcher grind up some real meat, then Mr. Average can only blame himself when the butchers have all gone out of business, and FecalPatties is all he can find anymore. —Joshua Banner, Ann Arbor, email@example.com.
Praise for Ness
Regarding Jack Lessenberry’s article on IRV (“Here’s something to vote for,” Metro Times, Jan. 7-13). I am a lifelong Democrat and no fan of the Green Party but I regularly give thanks for Tom Ness. He is doing what the state Green Party cannot do — getting people elected (see, for example, the dismal 2002 state gubernatorial campaign of Doug Campbell and Adrianna Buonnarroti) and advocating common sense and voting reform.
His outreach and education efforts are beyond compare and I will forever wonder why he isn’t in charge of the state Green Party — maybe then they could actually win a partisan election or at least effectuate some real change (instead of what they usually do, which is to sit around and complain).
Long live Tom Ness — keep up the great work! —Patricia L. Smith, Ann ArborSend comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.