Here we go again. The pointy-heads at WHO, the World Health Organization, apparently have decided that trying to shame us into not eating bacon and sausage and ham isn’t good enough. Now, they are going after (shudder) trans fats. Good luck with that.
You may recall that back in 2015, the World Health Organization, which is a part of the United Nations, which has all the relevance of a buggy whip, suggested we quit eating porcine parts. This, of course, sent shock waves throughout the South. I mean if the Whooters don’t want us eating fried bacon with our syrup-soaked pancakes, who are we to argue?
(“J.W., you ain’t getting bacon this morning. I just read where some real important folks over there in Sweden or Switzerland or one of them places where they yodel a lot says bacon ain’t good for you. So, I am going to deep-fry some possum for breakfast. I ain’t heard them mention possum yet.”)
After their pig-in-a-poke gambol trying to rid us of one of our major food groups — pig — the do-gooders are now going after trans fats. So, you ask: What are trans fats?
OK, maybe you didn’t ask, but I will tell you anyway. Trans fats are contained in stuff that tastes good, like chocolate cake with white icing and missing from stuff like Brussels sprouts.
Trans fats are not to be confused with saturated fats, which are found mostly in whatever can be fried, i.e. Southern cooking. I grew up in a time and place where most everything we put in our mouths was fried. For several years, we lived with my mother’s oldest sister and the family matriarch, Aunt Callie, better known as Cack. Cack was one of the great Southern cooks of all time. She could cook a bucket of mud and make it edible. Of course, the bucket of mud would be fried.
Cack fried anything that didn’t move. She fried steak. She fried chicken. She fried bacon and sausage and eggs. She fried pork chops. She fried fish. She fried okra. She fried Spam. And, of course, it got fried in an iron skillet, replete with a bountiful supply of salt and pepper before it ever hit the table. Cack went home to be with Jesus, never having met a recipe up-close and personal.
I thought about Cack when I read the WHO report about doing away with trans fats. Cack didn’t like anybody telling her how to cook, especially a bunch of bureaucratic pointy-heads from across the ocean. If she found out that former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg was the organization’s global ambassador, she would have greeted that with a scoff since chances are good that Mr. Bloomberg, like most Yankees, is clueless of Southern cuisine, like pot likker and red-eye gravy, two of our major food groups, along with barbecue (pork, of course), pecans and sweet tea.
We would have to peel her off the wall if she saw what the Whooters are targeting: Cakes and pies and cookies; biscuits (you’ve got to be kidding!); doughnuts (ditto!); margarine; pancakes and waffles, among other delicacies.
The World Health Organization says that as many as a half-million people die from cardiovascular disease every year worldwide. They blame that on trans fats.
Maybe it’s not the trans fats that are the problem. Supposedly, we Americans consume 80 percent fewer trans fats than we did a decade ago. If that is so, why so many fat derrieres waddling around town? Maybe folks are stuffing too much trans fatless food in their mouths. Maybe they need to exercise something besides their mandibles.
It is incumbent upon me to tell the Whooters that despite ingesting copious amounts of fried everything — including, no doubt, a lot of trans fat goodies — all our family lived well into their mid and late-80s and our grandfather until he was 90. (Had he given up chewing tobacco, he might have made it to 100, but that’s a story for another day.) I plan on doing the same thing (minus the chewing tobacco.)
I don’t like people telling me what I can and cannot eat. I care less whether banana pudding with meringue icing is good for me or not. I like banana pudding. And blather all you want about broccoli. It will never touch my lips.
I bless Cack for serving me a lot of the former and none of the latter. As for the Whooters in WHOville, this bacon burger is for you.
Dick Yarbrough is a North Georgia resident whose column appears Saturdays and at gainesvilletimes.com/opinion. Contact him by email or at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139; via his website; or his Facebook page.