Friday, October 28, 2011

The dirty dish dilemma

Ancient cooking pots reveal diet of 6000 year old Europeans. Well, not really 6000 year old Europeans, rather Europeans who lived 6000 years ago. Using complex chemical analysis of scraps of food left in cooking pots, scientist determined these people ate fish and other seafood. If there were any 6000 year olds around, scientists concede it would have been much easier to ask them what they ate for supper. They also postulate that the presence of fish and other seafood indicates these ancient Europeans did not start farming until more recently than 6000 years ago and up until then were primarily hunter-gatherers. Since hunter-gatherers is both a long word to type and hyphenated, I will refer to them as fishermen in the following paragraphs.

This information is extremely important to those who like to argue the corollary to “which came first the chicken or the egg?” question. That question being, which came first, the farmer or the fisherman? While people who argue the chicken/egg dilemma are better known than their counterparts in the farmer/fisherman camp, they often are accused of being scrambled eggheads.

The farmer/fisherman argument has a long history of violent rivalry. This is evidenced by the Biblical story of Cain and Able. God was displeased with Cain’s, the farmer, sacrifice but accepted Able’s, the keeper of animals, sacrifice. Cain, as you probably remember, was angry, took his brother out to a field and killed him; thus ended the first discussion of the merits of farming vs. fishing.

Although the animosity between farmers/fisherman has quieted down over the past few thousand years, there is still a sense of distrust between the two camps. From those who are vegetarian comes the cry, “How can you eat that sweet innocent creature?” This outburst is even greater at this time of year when hunters roam into the wooded areas to cull the herds of white-tailed deer here in the northeast. Now the cry is, “How can you hunt, kill, and eat Bambi?” Seriously folks, Bambi is a cartoon character. Just like the cucumber and tomato duo of Bob and Larry in the animated video series, “Veggie Tales.”

On the other side of the debate are the carnivores, or perhaps more correctly, omnivores, since most of us eat both meat and vegetables. This, however, is not a true omnivore. A true omnivore is a toddler, who will eat anything, meat, potatoes, vegetables, crayons, glue, shoelaces, and smaller children. It is, in fact, the toddler who, with tears in his eyes, would say to the vegetarian as they are munching on salad, “How can you eat Bob and Larry?”

In conclusion, it is obvious that this study has a fundamental flaw. The scientists failed to understand that they were studying the bowl of a bachelor. It is a well-established fact that bachelors do not properly load the dishwasher when they are finished using their bowls. My wife, like all other wives, is an expert on the loading of dishwashers and she consistently reinforces this lesson with our daughters and me. Do not leave your plates lying around, rinse them immediately; do not put dishes in the washer with food still on them because they will not come out clean.

It follows therefore, since the bowl had scraps of food left in it, that it was a bachelor’s bowl. Someone who was not blessed with the consistent reminders from a loving wife regarding the appropriate way to load a dishwasher. Let this be a warning to present day bachelors, clean your bowls thoroughly, or in 6000 years scientists will be poking around in your dirty dishes.

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