Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Rich Eat Gold While The Poor Eat Dirt.

Haiti's per capita income is around 1,100 dollars US. Same as this Louis Vuitton iPhone case...

And this bagel...

...created by Executive Chef Frank Tujague for New York’s Westin Hotel. The bagel is topped with white truffle cream cheese and goji berry infused Riesling jelly with golden leaves.

And that's just Haiti.... who grows dearer my heart everyday.

Then of course there is the unfathomable, unconscionable statistic, that every year 14 million children die from starvation.

Only made more perverse by the fact that while those children starve, restaurant patrons can purchase the curry dish below for the bargain basement price of 3200 dollars.

The curry dish was made as some sort of twisted tribute to the DVD release of Slumdog Millionaire, a movie that featured prominently the trafficking of slum dwelling children. Bombay Brassiere "packed this curry platter full of the most expensive ingredients they could find. Devon crab and white truffle and a half tomato filled with Beluga caviar and dressed with gold leaf are just the start of this lavish dish. A Scottish lobster, also coated with gold, four abalone and four shelled and hollowed quails’ eggs filled with even more caviar round out the dish."

Or this 4,200 dollar pizza...

The 12 inch pizza pie is "densely packed with an assortment of some of the world’s most expensive food ingredients, such as lobster marinated in cognac, caviar soaked in champagne, sunblush tomato sauce, Scottish smoked salmon, venison medallions, prosciutto, and vintage balsamic vinegar. In addition to all these fine ingredients, it’s topped with a significant amount of edible 24-carat gold flakes."

(This is where a string of gratuitous invectives would be if my conscience would allow.) Gold, on the food, to eat. GOLD. ON THE FOOD. TO EAT!!!! Of all the elitist- rub starvation in the nose of the poor- acts of mind numbing, soul crushing callousness. They're eating GOLD!!!!

God save us.

Or if you prefer fresh fruit and have 6,100 to 23,000 dollars burning a hole in your $675 (three times the per capita income of the Congo) Renna USA Zip around Wallet you can purchase either of the following...

Then of course there is Almas Caviar... 25,000 dollars a kilo in a 24 Karat gold tin. Or the most expensive food, that is more expensive per ounce than the ever so delicious gold, an Italian White Alba Truffle....

...a little over 160,000 dollars US. For one. One truffle. Dug up by a pig. 24 Karat gold flakes are extra.

So, let's recap. In a world where 14 million children die every year from starvation the discriminating taste bud can breakfast on eleven hundred dollar bagels, smeared with 25,000 dollar caviar, with a side of 23,000 dollar cantaloupe, and wash it down with Kopi Luwak the most expensive coffee in the world, made from coffee beans eaten, partly digested and then excreted by the Common palm civet, a weasel-like animal. 600 dollars a pound, or 50 dollars a cup.

But for those of us with duller palates... the country where all-you-can-eat buffets litter the suburban sprawl like Coors cans after a NASCAR Race. Americans spend 174 billion dollars a year on obesity related health care. That's 174 billion dollars annually, not on treatment for malnutrition due to under eating, but 174 billion dollars because we eat TOO MUCH.

We Americans also waste an astounding amount of food — 96.4 billion pounds- an estimated 27 percent of the food available for consumption. According to a New York Times story, "The Department of Agriculture estimated that recovering just 5 percent of the food that is wasted could feed four million people a day; recovering 25 percent would feed 20 million people." Or the entire nation of Haiti, twice over.

And then there is this. MLE, or the Major League (of) Eating is the world body that oversees all professional eating contests. According to their website: "[t]he organization, which developed competitive eating and includes the sport's governing body, the International Federation of Competitive Eating, helps sponsors to develop, publicize and execute world-class eating events in all variety of food disciplines. MLE-sanctioned eating contests provide dramatic audience entertainment and offer an unparalleled platform for media exposure.....MLE promotions generate more than a billion consumer impressions worldwide each year."

WHAT!!! There are enough leisure class sheeple watching sanctioned gluttony that it merits its own organization, let alone one of this size!

I really need to get on a plane to Haiti before I have a coronary.

Dear MLE, it's fans, sponsors, contestants, and anybody who thinks this is OK, REALLY?!?!? You live in a world where every day 38 thousand children die from starvation. That's one every 2 seconds. Thought you might like to know that while you are making a mockery of them they don't know it, they're not watching you eat 60 hot dogs in twelve minutes, they're too busy dying!!!

Here's one of the MLE's star "athletes" Takeru Kobayashi:

I especially like the way he is carried around like royalty. But what really sums it up for me, the whole attitude and perversity of it, is the "consumer impression" left by someone under the video:

"Lol, put a starving kid from Somalia in that contest."

This is where I would normally quote scripture, grow increasingly sanctimonious, and reach a screaming fevered pitch perched precariously atop my little soapbox. But this should suffice.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — "It was lunchtime in one of Haiti's worst slums and Charlene Dumas was eating mud. With food prices rising, Haiti's poorest can't afford even a daily plate of rice, and some take desperate measures to fill their bellies. Charlene, 16 with a 1-month-old son, has come to rely on a traditional Haitian remedy for hunger pangs: cookies made of dried yellow dirt from the country's central plateau."

"When my mother does not cook anything, I have to eat dirt three times a day," Dumas said. Her baby, named Woodson, lay still across her lap, thinner than the 6 pounds, 3 ounces he weighed at birth." --from the Associated Press

Shame on us.


  1. geeze. yeah let's pay exorbitant prices fungus and cockroaches of the sea, all while our neighbours cannot even manage to afford rice. what lovely people we are

  2. Classic - "I really need to get on a plane to Haiti before I have a coronary." I love it. and I love your heart. Keep close to Christ so yours continues to beat and break like His.

  3. I know Annabelle. "Lovely" is right. It makes my blood boil.

    Emilio, thank you, and I will. Without out His heart I'm lost.

  4. I have heard these comparisons before and at face value there is a lot wrong with this picture. However, it seems that this approach to understanding poverty might be a little misleading. What is the main cause of starvation/poverty in the third world? I would suggest corruption. And so would a lot of credible sources. So much so that former UN General Sec Kofi Annan has partnered with Mandella and the richest African investors to promote integrity in government by awarding what would be a nobel prize for honesty to any African politician after they leave office. Even if all the gold food were taken off the menu and all the money was sent to Africa/Haiti/etc, it most likely would not get through to the ones who needed it most. Just some thoughts for perspective.

  5. John, corruption is absolutely a part of, if not one of the main ingredients of the poverty equation. I do not recommend, nor have I ever recommended giving money to politicians and or government entities. All of the orgs we support and champion are fully vetted private sector charities and above reproach when it comes to corruption.

    The fact remains, that all of us in the first world live above our means, all of us waste, and in no century, in the history of any civilization, should there ever be a moment when anyone eats gold while another starves.

    Thank you for reading and commenting and being intellectually engaged in the argument. May your heart be as Christ's is for the poor, boundless with generosity and compassion.

  6. Mark, I hear you. And I agree that excess is not just wrong but disgusting. Thanks for continuing to provoke thought and action on this subject. Blessings.

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