The three pears symbolize food, knowledge, and pleasure.
Gastromancer Logo
Gourmandiary, March 2004
Home Page
Mastering the Mundane
Modern Food Issues
A Gourmands Diary.
About and Jason Ryan

While the big debate rages over how many cows the Government should test for
'Mad Cow', a couple of other Government 'Mad Cow' initiatives of note took place
in March 2004.

First, a criminal investigation was launched by the federal government to
determine who was lying about the condition of the first American "Mad" cow.  
Was it a downer or not?  The details of the investigation are well laid out in
article from the Sacramento Bee.

Here are the basics.  The USDA is only supposed to test 'downer' cows, that is,
cows that can't walk into the slaughterhouse.  The slaughterhouse where the
cow was killed insists that the animal that tested positive for BSE was
not a

My curiosity regarding this story is based mainly in the deep irony of the
slaughterhouse's assertion.  If the cow was not a 'downer', doesn't that mean
we have a really big problem on our hands where seemingly healthy animals are
carrying BSE?  The slaughterhouse is inadvertently making the point that all cows
need to be tested for BSE, a position absolutely opposed by the beef industry.  
Won't it be interesting to see where this goes...

Another government initiative from March 2004 came out of Washington State's  
House of Representatives where the bill
HB 2802 was passed prohibiting the
transportation of 'downer' animals for any purpose other than medical treatment
or euthanasia.  If it becomes law, cattlemen who bring non-ambulatory animals to
the slaughterhouse will face a $1,000 fine for each animal delivered in such a

Is it me, or is this one of those laws that you can't believe had to be written!  
Why are we eating sick cows?   

I wonder what the USDA will do...  Testing a downer at a slaughter house is what
revealed Mad Cow to them.  If these cows never make it to the slaughterhouse,
how will the USDA monitor the Mad Cow situation?

So you're eating a big SPAM salad sandwich for lunch, y'know the kind with the
chopped up sweet gherkin pickles and mayonnaise, when you think; 'What does
this delectable treat have to do with e-mail?  How did canned meat become a
reference for undesired e-mail?  I bet you didn't know that Monty Pythons had a
hand in it.  You decide, is this Python
song about meat or mail?

Here is the official word on
spam from the people who make SPAM!

Next month...are snails upset over being associated with the US Postal Service?
Cookbooks from the 60's

Here's a link to a great website full of campy pictures from old cookbooks.  These
photos are a hoot as is the commentary of website author J. Lileks.  Only as
astute an eye as his would notice that in almost all the pictures of people grilling
there is no such thing as matched oven mitts!  And the way they dressed to cook
in the backyard!  Enjoy!
A Nation of Food Sections

Do you enjoy your local newspaper's food section?  I do.  Did you ever wish you
could read every food section from every newspaper in the country?  Me too!

Linda Stradley's website might not have every food section from every paper, but
it sures makes a go at it.  Bookmark this
link and enjoy a few food sections every
day of the week!
The Gastromancer on TV!

I got a nice call from the folks who run the BU Gastronomy program recently.  The
Food Network wanted to chat with a few graduates of the program.  Would I
oblige?  Seems their new show "What's Hot, What's Cool" thinks a Masters
Degree in Gastronomy is HOT! It was my pleasure to confirm that presumption.

I'll send an e-mail to my regular distribution list when I learn when my fifteen
seconds of fame will air.
Eat thoughtfully for full pleasure!