Immortal Bananas, Super-Sizing for Jesus, and My Last Meal

English: The Last Supper of Jesus Christ

English: The Last Supper of Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I survived a few extremely uncomfortable experiences on my trip to GringoLandia, probably the most uncomfortably numb moments were shopping with my wife.  I could go on about that in detail, but it would just decay into cliché bitching.  Here’s one of the weirder things I noticed while shopping – Immortal Bananas.

How can it be that the hundred or more bananas at some Box Store were all the same size, the same perfect color of yellow, and as pristine as the photos on a grocery store advertisement?  And, after making off with a few of these Franken-Nanners, they defied the aging process, staying as yellow and perfect as plastic fruit for several days…no splitting, no browning, no banana activity whatsoever.  I live in a Banana Republic…I eat bananas every day…they’re supposed to get spotty, split at the seams…and smell…and taste like something other than paraffin.

I decided to do some internet cruising while waiting out the Immortal Bananas, and, of course, found weirdness.

One of the stranger websites I came across while waiting for my bananas to act like bananas was one dedicated to last-meal requests in the state of Texas.  Texas proudly claims to be the first state to offer specialized last meals, reportedly starting the ritualistic chow-down in 1924.  That all came to an end though, in September of 2011, after condemned prisoner Lawrence Russell Brewer requested a huge last meal and did not eat it, saying he wasn’t hungry.  Brewer’s refused request –

Two chicken-fried steaks with gravy and sliced onions; a triple-patty bacon cheeseburger; a cheese omelet with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and jalapeños; a bowl of fried okra with ketchup; one pound of barbecued meat with half a loaf of white bread; three fajitas; a meat-lover’s pizza topped with pepperoni, ham, beef, bacon, and sausage; one pint of Blue Bell ice cream; a slab of peanut-butter fudge with crushed peanuts; and three root beers.

Most states offer last meals to condemned inmates a day or two before are scheduled to be executed.  Some opt for simple, like some joker named Victor Feguer – a single, unpitted olive.  Timothy McVeigh, of Oklahoma City in-fame, ordered two pints of mint, chocolate chip ice cream.  John Wayne Gacy ordered a full meal, with the addition of a bucket of original recipe fried chicken from Kentucky Fried Chicken.  The site I found this on was comprehensive enough to include the fact that before Gacy became a student nurse killer he managed three franchises for the Colonel…ahhhh, the memories.  (Wasn’t he also a semi-pro clown?)

Seems that Super-Sizing has reached into even the most remote niches of American Life…and Death.

Oh well, if you think websites dedicated to last meals is nonsense, get a load of this nonsense:

Brian Wansink photo -- Executive Director of U...

Brian Wansink photo — Executive Director of USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brian Wansink, a food behavior scientist at Cornell University, conducted a study comparing the size of food portions in 52 of the most famous portrayals of Jesus Christ and his disciples at The Last Supper.

I don’t know which is stranger, that some moron gets who knows how large a pile of grant money to investigate and quantify such balderdash, or that some moron would come up with such an idea. But, any how, with the smell of filthy lucre in the air, Wansink brought his brother, Craig, a professor of Religious Studies at  Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia, in on the scam.

Utilizing computer technology that allowed them to scan, rotate and calculate images regardless of their orientation in the paintings, the brothers compared the portion sizes to the heads of the disciples. Their findings…between the years 1000 AD and 2000 AD, numerous artists enlarged the size of the main dish by an average of 69 per cent; the size of the plate, 66 per cent; and the bread, 23 per cent.

I get the picture, I think…though I don’t know why.

Religiously inspired artists through the ages must have put as much value on the size of a serving of food being placed before Jesus the Christ and his disciples as modern-day parents do when grazing their increasingly obese children on the obscenely large doses of what is considered food in these modern-day United States of America.

But, this can’t be the whole story…that only came out when the details of the study were published in the April issue of –

International Journal of Obesity

International Journal of Obesity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The International Journal of Obesity.

Yes, folks…there is an actual International Journal of Obesity. Who would have thought?  I can’t even imagine who the target audience is.  And, this only gets weirder.

Wansink’s position at Cornell – one that would allow enough academic juice to engage in such idiotic research…he’s the John S. Dyson Endowed Chair in the Applied Economics and Management Department at Cornell University.  For his intrepid efforts he also became a 2007 recipient of the humorous Ig Nobel Prize and was named ABC World News Person of the Weekon January 4, 2008.

What a world !

Wansink was no joker though.  He has figured out how to belly up to the private trough, researching the size of the Last Supper, for whatever reason, and he’s also elbowed his way into position at the taxpayer-financed trough.  George W. Bush tabbed Wansink for his Executive Director of the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP), a post which Wansink filled from 2007 to 2009.  And, what good is any of this unless a book deal can be the end result?  Well, there was such a result…

 

Mindless Eating

 

Bon appetit…I think I’m done eating for a week or two.  I’m going to send out an e-mail to the friends I was staying with in the states…ask them if those bananas have started to show any sign of Mortality.

Later…

 

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19 thoughts on “Immortal Bananas, Super-Sizing for Jesus, and My Last Meal

  1. When we have visited the US we have asked for our leftover dinner to be boxed up and we use it for lunch – such big servings! Sometimes we would ask for two plates and share a meal. Last time though, in 2012, there was a charge for having two plates to share a meal!! That’s greed of a different sort.

    GM foods scare the hell out of me. They don’t behave like food, like your bananas and the seeds are being patented by Monsanto -so scary.

    It’s good to have you back. 🙂

  2. I might be late to the date in saying “welcome back!” but welcome back and I am glad you made it safely =)

  3. Hey! A belated welcome back!!!
    I’m aware of the 10 to 14 year old fast food burgers that still look new. I view the food industry as having declared war on us. I don’t know how else to explain it. When one knows what to do to make people healthier and one does the opposite — what do you call that?

    • coyotero2112 says:

      How nice to hear from you. I checked your site when I got back, and either my WP is messed up – which wouldn’t surprise me – or you haven’t posted anything for a while. A month away from it sure cleared out my thinking about a few of the $-making writing I’ve been doing. We were watching some late-night talk show last week, and the wife was bored. She suggested you’d make a funnier, more interesting, more attractive host than any of the current models. I told her I’d get on it…see how much weight I carry with network executive types. Hate to interrupt your blissful state, but you could be hosting The Late Show fairly soon.
      Later…

  4. jannatwrites says:

    Lots to ponder here. I kind of like the engineered bananas that stay ‘fresh’ forever (when they get spotted and smelly, I won’t eat them.)

    I don’t eat out often, but when I do, I box up half of my meal to take home before I even start eating (sometimes I’ll split with my husband, if he’s not too hungry.) Not sure what to say about the study of the Last Supper. They do know it’s a painting and not an actual photo, right? 🙂

  5. melissajanda says:

    Oh don’t get me started on the food system in America. Food portions are so oversized that my husband and I often split a plate when dining out and you should see the size of some restaurant’s kid’s meals. Really? Is the average kid a giant? It’s more than I could eat. Then there is the food itself. I’m guessing those bananas were coated with a preservative to expand their shelf life. Americans like their fruit to look pretty. Hey, if it looks fake chances are it’s probably not good for you. Take the food from any fast food restaurant and leave it out for days, even MONTHS; it doesn’t spoil. Really. We’ve done the experiment. Can you imagine how taxing that is on your liver? Americans are putting that in their bodies in alarming proportions. I do my best to eat healthy: hormone free, farm raised, unprocessed food, with no preservatives. Basically if you couldn’t raise it or grow it or pronounce the ingredients then you probably shouldn’t eat it. The obesity rate among kids is alarming. It seems everywhere I look there are children with this “spare tire” around their midsection. That was an anomaly when I was a kid but now it seems to be the norm. Waistlines are disappearing, especially for the lower income because it is expensive to eat healthy and Americans like it fast and cheap. So they hit that “big box” store with the cheap, processed, hormone and preservative injected food or go for fast food. And instead of addressing the issues we’re granting money for some dimwit to conduct studies on food proportions in paintings of the Last Supper. What is the benefit of that? Where is the commons sense?!

    • coyotero2112 says:

      Whoaaaa, chainsaw ! ! ! ! ! ! You’re right about getting you started. That was a fun rant post of its own. Good to know there is still some outrage there. An obese friend of mine in the states asked for my help, and I suggested changing her food choices. A fridge and cupboards packed with “Diet”, “Low Sugar” and other healthy sounding edibles. Pointed out most of the foods she found she liked had high fructose corn syrup, as addicting as meth. She had decided eating sanely is too much trouble…going to get to it after she gets her degree, quits smoking, gets married, and something else I can’t remember. Ohhhhhh…
      Glad you liked the Last Supper thing tacked on, thought it just weirdly appropriate.
      Later…

      • melissajanda says:

        Ah, that’s sad for her and frustrating to hear. She would feel so much better if she removed all the junk from her diet. It’s really not that difficult to eat healthy. By the way, I had a nice, ripe, spotted banana with breakfast this morning and thought of you 🙂

        • coyotero2112 says:

          Sounds like the start of a movement…something about spotted bananas, but I’m not feeling very clever yet. I’m going to try a video on food here, from the fruit dealers to the fish guy, and making something. I’m sure we’ll have time for the gesstation of some sort of good food gang. 🙂
          Later….

  6. mrs fringe says:

    Welcome home, and welcome back. ❤
    Food and eating, such a loaded topic. Emotions, practicalities, political inferences and repercussions…a veritable minefield.

    I've been thinking recently about giving up and buying a quality juicer. I would never have to cook again! But I have an undying love for carbs, and of my addictions, salt is probably my most deep rooted.

    I think that's part of the appeal of my little move-to-the-country fantasy, growing my own food.

  7. Ah, yes, I have missed your mysterious meanderings…just one word about the Blue Bell ice cream: delicious. If I had a last meal, I would request the butter pecan. Blue Bell factory 45 miles northwest of me in Brenham, Texas. Welcome home. I am glad you survived the shopping trips. They are fraught with danger.

    • coyotero2112 says:

      Mysterious meanderings…? And I thought I was sorting out the world one abnormal subject and event at a time. Must start editing myself more closely.
      Later….

  8. Having just finished a smoothie that I made from fresh, locally grown blueberries, truly ripe mango, cut oats, hand-picked blackberries, pineapple, watermelon, etc., I read (and truly appreciated) your post. I could expound upon and fulminate the morning away yet I’ll opt merely to echo your, all to apt, words: “What a World!”

    Excellent read.

    • coyotero2112 says:

      Thanks for the comment. Just making my morning mix, with Cas, Guyabana, and other fruit and veggies that look, taste, and smell like real food items. I do miss blueberries though…
      Later…

  9. words4jp says:

    Uh – I think i have seen the Frankenbananas. I will not even eat a banana unless it has a spot or two. I just do not get our gov’t – it wastes so much money on the stupidest stuff – and universities do the same thing. you name it – no matter how convoluted, there is a study conducted on it – usually with federal funding. Have they invented an onion mummy – same size onions but lots more layers – greater oniony taste?

    later gator…

  10. jerwayne2013 says:

    I believe I have seen some of those franken-bananas at a big box store..they never seem to be any other color but yellow…..great read about the super size of everything in the US..I for one believe it is rediculous because the regular size is more than any body should have to endure.

  11. You never fail to make me think…and smile!

    • coyotero2112 says:

      Wow…can’t do any better than that. I guess my work is done for the day, and all in a half-hour venting session while contemplating a limon that has real juice in it.
      Later…

  12. yourothermotherhere says:

    I haven’t encountered the franken-bananas yet, but the strawberries are tasteless little red bombs.

    I think Americans are unknowingly the mice in food experiments by Big Business, the payoff being, if Americans can eat it, so can you. It’s really scary. Try finding out online what’s inside a hotdog other than deliberate vagaries that tell you nothing. It’s my understanding that they are primarily made of the brains and lungs of cows and pigs. Delicious, huh? Under American law, anything that comes off a cow or pig can be just labeled as beef or pork.

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