Shut Up and Eat

The Open Sources team prides itself in getting to the heart of meat and potatoes issues. In celebration of this, once a month we have a post show meal consisting of actual meat and potatoes in the form of a burger and fries. It’s a rare treat for me these days. As a kid, for budgetary reasons the home cooked version was a staple, so it’s generally something I avoid when dining out. On at least one or two other nights a week we had tatties and mince, which is essentially the same thing but with mashed potatoes, half a carrot or a few peas and a liquid hamburger without the bun that had a key additive called “Bisto”. It’s pretty much a loose shepherd’s pie. No restaurant exists here that carries my true ethnic food, for good reason. If you find it, let me know. I’ll treat you. If anything, it will be memorable.


My parents didn’t tolerate any pickiness about food. Any resistance was met with “get that doon ye”. If I had a food allergy, I’d likely be dead by now. So I can honestly say I’ve never voiced a complaint at a meal in my life. After the fact is another story. I gag at the thought of having eaten things to be polite such as oysters, cherry pie, marshmallows and jellied salad but I’ve et them all. This makes me the ideal candidate to take one for the team in the quest to answer the question “Is ice cold camembert and broken crackers an awful breakfast as per Senator Nancy Ruth?“

I definitely didn’t grow up in a soft cheese universe but it’s the kind of thing that once you discover it, you crave it like chocolate or cigarettes. The first time I ever had it, my buddy Mitch and I ate half a large wheel of Oka. When his mother found out she chewed us out in Portuguese. You could do that back then, yell at someone else’s kids in the language of your choice without reprimand.  It was a key principle of early official multiculturalism. There was a bit of a mixed message in this instance, because when it comes to eating the normal Portuguese turn of phrase is “come e calate” which means “Shut Up and Eat”. This only applies to everything in the house but the super expensive cheese wheel that’s being saved for the cards party.

As it happens, ritzy cheese wheels were on sale this week. I scooped 170g of Presidents Choice Camembert (as opposed to “President”, which is the classy French stuff) for $5.49. This is far more cheese than the airplane allotment, which is usually a single serve pac that looks like a giant butter pat. I decided to spring for some classier harder crackers and settled for a box of Dare Vintas at $1.99, seeing as our neighbours in Kitchener make them, for now. Here is a photo for the record, possibly the first and last time I’ll ever document a meal I’ve eaten. Unless you are in advertising or an open source reporter, there is no reason on earth to take a picture of food:


I didn’t bother to try and simulate the art of eating on an airplane, which I imagine is somewhat easier in business/first class. I’ll confess to flying what was touted as first class on a charter once but it was a camembert-less affair. The main advantages seemed to be getting on and off first, a tad more legroom and unlimited booze, glory be. I’ve only enjoyed one flight ever, from Toronto Island to Newark, which lasted one hour. We did have a nearly 5 hour delay due to fog though but they gave us a tidy little boxed lunch and a bottle of beer. Dandy. I’m only ever happy when the damn thing is on the ground. The unlimited booze trip was the second favourite.


With that, the verdict is in. Although it is far from the complete breakfast that Kelloggs always suggested you eat, ice cold camembert and broken crackers is *not* an awful breakfast. Our bodies love salty, fatty goodness. It should be a legal requirement that senators and related sunshine listers must eat all of the free food they get on free trips as they jet freely around our nation and beyond. At this point, the 99% do not consider what senators do as “work”, so it should not be referred to as such. The senate is a throwback partisan junket that needs to go. During my father’s most recent hospital stay, his late night snack was four broken Breton crackers and a vac pac of Cracker Barrel cheddar. They were consumed in about 30 seconds. His comment was “the food’s no bad here”. This unprompted review came on his third day hooked up to an IV in a room with three other guys and a thin drape for “privacy”. A light year away from business class and a completely different universe altogether from where the senators reside.

So Nancy, it’s time for you and your pals to shut up and eat while you can.

Get that doon ye.


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