Breaking news from the Fast Food Nation: The McRib returned to McDonald’s locations nationwide yesterday. (And just in time for the election: Republicans make big gains and the McRib is reinstated, not sure what to make of that connection.) Sure, the McRib has it’s defenders, such as one James Pkafke, who writes, “The McRib is like some kind of delicious, mythical being, akin to pure joy captured and stuffed into bread and boneless pork.” But, frankly, whoever this Pkafke guy is (a mythical being, perhaps?), I am quite confident that he is an idiot. After all, he can’t even correctly spell his own last name–Pkafke, really? C’mon! The world needs the return of the McRib like it needs the reemergence of polio. In my professional opinion, I recommend you vaccinate yourself with a plate of real barbecue from your favorite local joint.
If a newspaper called the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer is to be believed, there is no risk of contracting swine flu from eating barbecue or other pig meat. If you don’t trust anything claimed by papers with the word “Enquirer” in the title, then maybe you’ll trust this article from the Los Angeles Times. If you don’t trust anything from L.A. either (or if you just noticed that the Los Angeles Times ran that same Ledger-Enquirer story), well, we don’t blame you for that. Nonetheless, it does appear that pork is safe to eat even if the pig it came from had a 105 degree fever and was vomiting a few days before he landed, chopped and sauced, on your plate. Does that make you hungry for a plate of swine flu ‘cue?
Before we get too deep into 2010, here are my personal (PER) and BBQ Jew related (BBQ) New Year’s resolutions:
PER 1) In order to protect the earth and preserve it for my children, I will cut down on my vehicle miles traveled.
BBQ 1) In order to protect the art of BBQ and preserve it for my children, I will drive farther to support traditional wood-cooked barbecue joints.
PER 2) I will spend more time with my family.
BBQ 2) I will find the time to write more Hogkus.
PER 3) I will watch my diet, in order to cut calories and lose weight.
BBQ 3) I will try to eat barbecue on average at least once per week.
PER 4) I will not make light of the swine flu.
BBQ 4) I will only eat dead swine, and will not kiss live swine, to avoid the swine flu.
I think that about covers it.
Last year is quickly fading in my memory–the only vivid reminders are a laundry basket full of grease-stained t-shirts and the ongoing global economic crisis–so before it is too late let’s turn our attention to the BBQJew.com end of year awards. Here are our 2009 Performance In Getting Swine Talked-about, Yes (PIGSTY) awards:
Most Voluminous Poster (MVP) – This award is given to the person who submits the most non-spam comments on the BBQ Jew website. (Employees of BBQJew.com are not eligible for consideration, in part because there are none.) And the winner is… burgeoningfoodie. Congratulations burgeoningfoodie. However, we’ve noticed a decline in your posts in recent months so don’t think you can coast to another MVP in 2010… John Shelton Reed and BBQ Dave were runners-up and will be gunning for MVP in 2010.
Biggest Frickin’ Flame (BFF) – This award goes to the most mean-spirited comment of the year. Congratulations “Mike,” if that’s even your real name, because you win. The winning comment was: “No one compares in vehemence to the self-hating anti-semetic Jew. But, here’s hoping you all don’t contract trichinosis!” How can I love myself with comments like that directed at me? I can at least take solace in your use of the phrase “you all,” which indicates you must be a self-hating yankee.
Best Barbecue-Related Rant Witnessed In Person (BBRRWIP) – This award goes to Bob Kantor of Memphis Minnie’s BBQ for an eloquent and impassioned tirade against margarine, people who refer to margarine as butter, and a bunch of related things. The rant, which I can’t recall verbatim, used the margarine/butter issue as a jumping off point for a monologue about faux ‘cue, Americans’ too frequent lack of interest in quality ingredients and much more. It was rather awesome and right on target.
Biggest BBQ Jew Benefactor (BBJB) – In 2009, this award goes to the person who buys the most BBQ Jew merchandise, as merch sales are the only way this website generates income (our business model is brilliant). Congratulations, Random Dude From Australia Who Bought A T-Shirt And Mug, thank you for all you have done for us. The $4 we generated from the transaction have been plowed back into our newsroom. And, uh, if anyone wants to, like, write us a check for $5 or more we’ll re-award the BBJB to you.
Opportunity of the Year (OY) – This award is given out primarily because we wanted an award with the abbreviation “oy.” Let’s give the OY to everyone’s favorite, The Swine Flu, for giving us the opportunity to write several space-filling posts, including this one.
Piglet of the Year (POY) – This award is given to a youngster who exhibits impressive barbecue eating talent. This year we have a tie: The Rib Rabbi’s baby son and my toddler daughter were dragged, sometimes literally kicking and screaming, to several barbecue joints in 2009. Some day you two will thank us for starting you out on such a healthy diet.
2009 brought us the aporkalypse. No, not the continued advance of gas-cooked barbecue, but the fear-mongering stemming from the ill-named swine flu. Because really, what did swine, and by extension barbecue, ever do to deserve so much hatred?
While I’d never heard the term before this week, amazingly, it made The New York Times‘ buzzwords of 2009 list. Here’s their official definition of aporkalypse:
Undue worry in response to swine flu. Includes unnecessary acts like removing nonessential kisses from Mexican telenovelas and the mass slaughter of pigs in Egypt.
I’m against undue fear in all forms, but especially when it prevents telenovela smooching. And anything that threatens my barbecue and, by the (delusionary) commutative property, my livelihood. I’m not, however, against a little humor surrounding this topic.
Then again, if there’s any truth behind Aporkalypse Now–the online game–maybe the fear isn’t so unnecessary. Be afraid of anthropomorphic zombie pigs wearing suits. Be verrry afraid.
Happy Thanksgiving, readers. In honor of the holiday, I’d like take a few minutes to consider all the things for which I am thankful this year. Here’s my list, which I present in no particular order yet numbered to give the appearance that significant time went into preparing it.
- I give thanks that swine flu is not transmitted via barbecue.
- I am thankful there are still a few dozen barbecue joints in NC that cook the traditional way over wood coals (alas, there are many hundreds more that do not).
- I give thanks that a couple of the wood-cooked barbecue joints are run by young guys who I hope will be in business for a long time.
- I am thankful that, after tasting barbecue all over North Carolina, I still think my local joint ranks among the state’s best.
- I am thankful that there are people out there–like you–who think reading about barbecue is interesting (at least relative to preparing TPS reports, or whatever you are supposed to be doing when you visit this website).
- I give thanks that The Rib Rabbi’s family will be joining my family for Thanksgiving.
- I am thankful that the out of town guests joining us for Thanksgiving have requested that barbecue be served alongside the turkey (though this may indicate nothing more than a distrust of our ability to cook turkey).
- I am thankful that Steve Raichlen’s Up in Smoke newsletter this month featured a recipe for barbecuing turkey.
- I am thankful that my wife is willing to let me risk ruining Thanksgiving by barbecuing a turkey for the first time.
- I give thanks that my 2-year old daughter is not old enough to physically restrain me from eating two barbecue lunches in one day.
- I am thankful that the makers of Tofurkey, still reeling from the soy flu epidemic, have yet to produce soy barbecue.
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful Thanksgiving, whether your meal features turkey, tofu, or barbecue.
As you no doubt have heard by now, unless bbqjew.com is your only source of contact with the outside world (in which case we fear you have more serious problems than the flu), the SWINE FLU has emerged as the leading threat to humankind. As best we can tell, the SWINE FLU! will either a) quickly fade away and be forgotten or b) decimate humanity. Here’s to hoping a) is correct. “But how does this potential epidemic impact dedicated barbecue eaters like me?,” you might ask. Or you might not. After initially fearing for the lives of our family and friends, this is exactly the disturbing question that entered my mind.
The good news is that, while the SWINE FLU!! may soon decimate the world’s population and bring a sudden end to civilization as we know it, it is perfectly safe to continue eating barbecue in the meantime. According to an informative Q&A posted on MSNBC online, “People cannot become infected by eating pork or pork products. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit kills the virus as well as other bacteria, notes the CDC.”
Barbecue is certainly cooked to 160 degrees so there is no need for alarm. That’s right, folks, please continue to eat barbecue all you want. However, just to be on the safe side you may want to steer clear of eating barbecue at restaurants that have other customers or, to be extra safe, employees. Yes, it turns out the SWINE FLU!!! can be transmitted person-to-person as well as pig-to-person, so you may want to carry out your next barbecue plate and eat it inside your locked, HEPA-filtered, Tamiflu and meat thermometer stocked basement. But really, we assure you, there is absolutely NO NEED TO PANIC!!!
As an aside, the swine flu was first identified in hogs in 1930, which coincidentally (?) was around the beginning of the Great Depression. Now we are in the midst of another economic crisis and the swine flu is back in the news. Mere coincidence or public health fear mongering intended to distract Joe Public from economic fear mongering? You be the judge. As for me, I’ll let you know my thoughts on this matter just as soon as I emerge from my basement. See you in 2011.