CLICK ABOVE TO PLAY MUSIC
Music – “I Won’t Eat That” from I Won’t Eat That by Willy Welch. Released: 2002.
“Finding Betty Crocker” is a recent addition to my collection, subtitled “The Secret Life of America’s First Lady of Food” by Susan Marks, published in 2005. The author traces the history of the ubiquitous but totally synthetic “Betty Crocker”, who was a composite of many women and changed dramatically over the years.
Depending on your age, you will probably recognize or identify with one of the “Betty’s”, whose images appear in the book.
On October 2nd, 1924, Ms. Crocker had her radio debut on the Washburn Crosby Company’s “Home Service” radio format. The show was built around casual “womanly talk”. Betty was off and running. According to Ms. Marks, listeners to Betty’s first broadcast, entitled “Good Food”, learned that “…a woman who produced unsavory meals risked dire consequences”…
“If you load a man’s stomach with soggy boiled cabbage,
greasy fried potatoes,” Betty cautioned, “can you wonder
that he wants to start a fight, or go out and commit a crime?
We should be grateful that he does nothing worse than display a lot of temper.”
Whew! Pretty heavy stuff. If that’s truly the case, the world will always be on the brink of war, the raping and pillaging will never go away and the bad guys really aren’t bad guys: they’re just being served greasy and soggy food by mostly women cooks!
Until women around the world get their collective acts together and learn how to cook a decent meal for the men folk, we are all in danger. Who would have thought?
Now, I admit that when I read about Betty’s admonitions about cooking in her “womanly talk”, I had to chuckle, first in disbelief and second, because it sounded so far fetched and ludicrous that I just had to laugh.
Just picture “Joe the Plumber” (no, not THAT Joe the Plumber), coming home after a hard day of fixing leaky faucets, cleaning clogged drains of god knows what and having his head stuck in numerous toilets.
Joe wants decent food and he wants it fast. Slopping a bowl of oily chicken soup with half cooked dumplings in front of him just ain’t going to cut it. Neither will a heap of greasy fries or a carcinogenic pork chop. Joe may eat it, but his disquiet and anger might start bubbling to the surface until rage sets in and Joe is compelled to go on a crime spree as the disgusting foods churn through his digestive tract.
Cheekiness aside, as I wrote this post, I did a little research on food and behaviour and I was truly amazed to find a plethora of research done on the possible/alleged links between diet and crime.
Articles such as “A Criminal Diet? The link between diet and behaviour” by Martina Watts of The Health Bank and “Diet, Crime and Delinquency” by A. Schauss appeared in my search.
So did “Position Paper on Diet and Criminal Behavior” by NCAHF (National Council Against Health Fraud Archive”, “Diet, Crime and Antisocial behaviour” (https://www.ncjrs.gov) , “Diet and Violence” (Psychology Today), and
“New Studies Show Strong Links Between Diet, Behavior…and possibly even for criminal behavior” (Crime and Nutrition – Health Supreme).
A bad diet might lead to bad behavior and crime, according to a study reported in the Baltimore Sun. There have been studies linking Omega-3 and junk food to violence (www.theguardian.com), and even children given a daily dose of candy might be at risk for violence in adulthood (www.health.usnews.com).
Poor diets can lead to obesity, heart disease, a myriad of cancers, high cholesterol, dementia, and a host of other ailments, but can a poor diet really catapult someone into a life of crime? I’m inclined to say that a healthy dose of testosterone is more at fault!
I’m the first one to admit that there is a certain propensity for one to feel “grumpy” if one’s stomach is growling like a feral dog and, but at some point, filling the void will probably ease the protests, no matter what the texture or look of the food. If my mother plopped a bowl of greasy potatoes in front of me, would I be more apt to fly into a rage after eating them and beat her to death with a wooden spoon, as opposed to my consuming a delicate platter of lightly sautéed pommes frites at a classy French restaurant?
There are a million reasons people do bad things: perhaps it was just bad genes (enter the Santa Fe, New Mexico case of “The Warrior Gene” as the defense in a murder case: The defendant’s attorney claimed that his client had a genetic variant, which resulted in the defendants’ inability to check his “impulsive” behavior) (note: the judge tossed out the “warrior gene” defense).
Childhood abuse can sometimes lead to violent outbursts in adulthood (however, not every abused child feels compelled to lash out at others). Poverty, social status, what day of the week you were born on, if you’re the second of three children, all of these theories are espoused to explain violence and perhaps, some of them are valid in many circumstances. Bad parenting has got to be way up there on the list too.
We always hear the expression “You are what you eat” or, as put more succinctly in 1825 by gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are”. I wonder if he could predict the potential for criminal behaviour by analyzing an individual’s diet. Food for thought.