Made In The U.S.A.

Yes, I stopped for a beer on my way to the grocery store.

In Adventures on February 13, 2009 at 6:06 am

1.31.09: Saturday rolled around and I realized I was short on chili fixins for Shelley’s meatless (and unpalatable) chili I was planning. So I headed back out to fill in the gaps. On my way I stopped at Colorado Bob’s bar for a beer and to watch my friend, Ray, play washboard with his band The Fabulous Raytards. They covered Blister In The Sun which I thought was a strong choice. And well done, too.

I drank my can of Natural Light, which surely is MITUSA, right? Socialized with friends of a friend and then headed to the grocery store. Let me say this: stopping at a bar on a Saturday afternoon on your way to the grocery store makes you think about your priorities and exactly in what life direction you’re heading. I am on the right path, I decided, because I’ve never before stopped at a bar for a beer on my way to the grocery store. That experience, and reassurance, was worth the price of pounding a two-dollar Natty Light in a can.

Although I forgot the main thing I needed from the store, dishwasher detergent, I did stock up on beans and more canned tomato products and such. Nothing particularly MITUSA notable except for the beans. I couldn’t find origins on any of ‘em. The closest I could come was the bag of Hurst Hambeens. It at least said that the 15-bean dry soup mix was packed by the Hurst Beans organization of, as I recall, Indianapolis, Indiana. So I bought ‘em and figured if an Indy bean seller isn’t selling American beans then the sky is in fact falling and the whole world is about to come to a shuddering halt.

A little research tells me that Hurst’s beans are probably grown in the U.S. First, they have a chart explaining the path to market the company’s beans take.  The chart mentions that some beans are packed for shipment overseas. Am I to believe that beans could possibly be grown overseas, shipped to the U.S. for packaging, then shipped back overseas for consumption? Well I won’t. I don’t. I can’t.

Secondly, the company says it has “always been dedicated to accepting only U.S. #1 grade products from choice growers.” Does that “U.S.” mean MITUSA? I’ll hope so.

Lastly, the company’s web site mentions how the northwestern U.S. is linked to all major domestic markets by rail and truck, and that peas and lentils are barged down the Snake River to the Columbia for distribution near Portland to worldwide destinations. That sure sounds like those beans speak ‘Merican to me. (Though it ain’t too close to Indy.)

All the evidence points to MITUSA status, so why don’t they just come out and say it? According to Sawalich’s law (see yesterday’s post), I should be skittish about trusting these beans.

But so many foods—be it beans or barbecue or bratwurst or bread—don’t bother to label where they’re made. Maybe it’s because back in the good old days all our food was from our shores. But in today’s global economy, I don’t assume that to be a safe assumption.

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