Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Stir-fry or Stew, a MYSTERY

I have a mystery for you, detectives. I recently embarked on a journey to the grocery store for to obtain meats for my belly. I felt that pork was providing a strong argument for it's election to my innards, so I went to the deli to research my price and configuration options. I found a package of delicious-looking little chunks of former pig that seemed to fit all of the criteria I had assembled for my dinner, and was throwing it into my basket when I noticed that this meat came with a recommendation for it's usage: Great for Stir-fry Stew. Stew had been hand-written on the package with the same marker that had been used to cross out Stir-fry, a technique that I find lends a certain confidential-FBI-document-like touch. While it did take me a minute of angling the package to the light to decode the hidden stir-fry message, this was clearly sloppy document protection. The proper technique would have been to photocopy the blacked-out tag, thereby concealing the message forever in a pleasingly uniform black box.

I may not have gotten as far as deciding exactly how I was going to prepare the pork for it's journey into Stomachfornia, but I was pretty sure it wasn't going to be stew. The written word, a handwritten deli meat label included, has a powerful effect on me, so I began to second-guess that this was my meat soul-mate after all. I was about to dip my feet back in the pork pool when I noticed that ALL of the little chunky pork bits came with the same modified recommendation. clearly, this meat is Great for Stir-fry Stew only. 30 or so packages had been modified to carry this special message, and I couldn't help but wonder why someone would go through all of this trouble.

Admittedly, I am no cooking expert, but something tells me that there is not nearly as much difference in stir-fry pig and stew pig as this marker-wielding grocery employee would have me believe. Am I wrong? Perhaps there are vast cultural differences between Pigs of the Stew and Pigs of the Stir-fry, a constant rift that threatens the stability of our world. Has my sequesterment from the threads of current events left me ignorant as to the shifting control over our nation's delis, and the reckless power play by the House of Stew (Pig Chapter) that instigated this seemingly trivial relabeling job? Or does it have something to do with corn?

This seemed like a diversion, a dead end, so I took a step back in this mystery of mysteries. I stood in the deli section, letting the facts swim about my head like a dark ocean about fleshy, um, head-shaped crags. At this point in the pulp mystery novel version of my story, a sinister figure knocks me unconscious with a cunning blow from a salami or a roll of aluminum foil or a can of chili, and I awake to make an important connection that I had hitherto ignored. I waited, but no clarity-inspiring concussion ensued.

It does seem clear to me, though, that someone is trying to tell me something. Maybe someone is in trouble, and this is their message to the world, a desperate plea, a riddle in meat.

Help me, detectives, someone's life may be in your hands. Also I'm hungry.

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