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October 17, 2009

Random Saturday morning thoughts on the flu and pork



Over breakfast I was watching an absolutely fascinating program about the H1N1 swine flu on C-Span. It's still going on. (Andrew Pekosz, an associate professor at the Hopkins School of Public Health is the guest.)

I finally had to stop watching to get on with my day -- thank goodness for TiVo -- but one thing really struck me. He said H1N1 doesn't develop naturally in pigs. They get it from humans. Isn't that sad?

Now you can go back to eating pork. Actually I wonder if pork consumption is down. I haven't read anything about it lately. ...

Another thing: Every time he mentioned the virus, he called it the 2009 H1N1; and he said it's here to stay.

Monday morning sharp I'm going to find a place to get my flu vaccine. The seasonal flu, of course.

All this talk of swine flu makes me think of bacon, and from that a post I've been meaning to do on bacon soap. Check back later.

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 8:32 AM | | Comments (10)


Egypt slaughtered all their pigs to try to prevent H1N1. It didn't work, and now they are swamped in garbage and the poor Coptic Christians who owned the pigs lost their way of making any kind of living.

Panic over this kind of thing kills people, too.

The good news about all of this for me is, at least in the grocery stores I go to, there seems to be a wider selection of pork.
Loin, chops, ribs, ground, whatever.

This could be a subconscious thing for me -maybe I notice the selection of cuts more since the media has meme'd swine flu; or maybe other people are subconsciously avoiding it. There's no way to objectively say.

I'm not a scientist or a sociological researcher, nor do I play one on TV.

All I know is that Big Bad Wolf and Andy Nelson's seem to be doing just fine.

Oh, and EL - I've had the seasonal flu last week. It's a horrible 4 serious days, bookended by 3 lingering-illness-leaving-the-body days, but the whole feeling was none the worse than every experience after I got a flu shot in the past.

The bad news is that there's a news report about pigs at the Minnesota State Fair catching the H1N1 flu (possibly from children visiting the fair). Now, how will we get pigs to wash their trotters thoroughly with Purel?

I was dropping by Giant yesterday while they were doing flu shots and I was thankful for two things -- one, that I am no longer in their employ and two, that I got a flu shot free at Towson (yay for being a student still). When Towson did it, they got less than they ordered and ran out in five hours.


Afghanistan quarantined their entire pig population. Of course since there was only one pig in the country (at the zoo), it did not take all that much effort.

While Lissa disagreed with my H1N1 joke recently she is absolutely right about the Egyptian slaughter and other hysterical responses to what is without a doubt a real hazard that has nothing to do with my favorite meal. However, I look to the hmpstd comment where the so called carriers the pigs were probably infected by the kids visiting them. Going back to the happy hour discussion yet another reason to keep the little incubators of disesase at home.

Yet another shill @ 8:18. Can't you block them forever.

I wish. EL

Three out of the four Gospels tell a story about Jesus casting the demons from an unfortunate young man into a heard of swine, who then rush headlong over a cliff and perish on the rocks below. The typical sermon on this text focuses on the power of Jesus to cast out demons.

I am fascinated by another question: whose pigs were they?

Obviously, they were not Jewish pigs! The Law of Moses famously forbids the consumption of pork products (sadly to include even bacon!). I don't think they knew much about swine flu back then either!

The presence of that many of them in such proximity to the Galilee yields only one conclusion: they must have been Roman pigs, herded to feed the Roman soldiers occupying the territory.

That means the point is not about healing but about political action.

Perhaps that is why the townspeople usher Jesus away as fast as they can!

Since the Israeli government tried to change the name to the Mexican flu, has the consumption of Mexicans decreased?

Canon--love your reading of the demons and swine story! It never occurred to me to wonder whose swine were being driven over the cliff!

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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