KingMidget's Ramblings

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Is It Just Me?

Sometimes when I’m eating something I think about the food I’m eating and what goes into it.  And then my mind expands and I ponder all of the people who are eating the same thing that day and just how much must be done to provide the quantity of food needed to meet the demand.

For instance, I eat a hamburger and I ponder how many people eat hamburgers every day and what it would take to provide all of those hamburgers.

Did you know that McDonald’s sells almost 6.5 million hamburgers.  A day.  Think about that.  Roll it around a bit.  That’s over 2 billion hamburgers a year.  And that’s just McDonald’s.  Where the hell does all of that beef come from?

OK.  I know.  It’s questionable whether a McDonald’s hamburger is actually a beef product, but let’s just accept for the moment that it is.  Over 2 billion hamburgers a year for just one, admittedly large, fast food chain.  Add to that number all of the hamburgers made by the other fast food chains and restaurants of all types and it becomes pretty much unfathomable how there can be that much beef out there.  (Not to mention, steaks, ribs, and everything else that comes from a steer.)

Of course, it’s not just hamburgers.

What about pizza?  The estimate I saw was that Americans consume over 3 billion pizzas each year.  3 billion!!!!!  I love me my pizza and I’m probably responsible for a few thousand of those each year.  No, seriously, I probably am.   It’s kind of funny, according to one website, the average American eats 46 slices, or 23 pounds, of pizza a year.  Hell, that’s two weeks for me.  But still.  Where the hell does all of the flour and cheese and tomatoes and pepperoni come from for all of those pizzas.

One last example.

Americans consumed on average 22 pounds of ice cream in 2014, for total ice cream production of almost 900 gallons that year.  All that milk, all that dairy, and sugar and chocolate and nuts and everything else that goes into a gallon of ice cream.

This amazes and astounds and baffles me.  The next time you go to a restaurant, or make yourself a dinner, imagine for a moment the millions of other people who are eating the very same thing that day and try to figure out how that can be possible.  Order, or make a salad, and imagine where all of the lettuce is grown that goes into all of the salads that are consumed every day in all of the restaurants and homes across the country.  Go into a grocery store and see all of those products lined up on shelves and recognize that there are thousands of grocery stores scattered around the country (and the blog) that are stocked just the same.  How does this happen?  Where does it all come from?  The number of chickens that must be raised and slaughtered to feed the masses.  The number of pigs raised for sausage and bacon and ribs and chops and who knows what else.  How can it possibly be sustainable?


10 responses to “Is It Just Me?

  1. hirundine608 May 13, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    Maybe that’s why the oceans are becoming depleted? Cheers Jamie.

  2. cinthiaritchie May 13, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    OMG, I think about that all the time. I thought I was the only one. I drive my partner crazy because I’m always saying things like, “Think of how much spinach has to be grown to stock all the supermarkets and restaurants and mini marts and schools,” and he kind of rolls his eyes. But I think it’s fascinating. Or oranges. Everywhere you go, there’s orange juice. And yet it takes a lot of oranges to make just one cup of orange juice. Imagine how many millions or maybe billions are grown to fuel our thirst. I swear, I can think about stuff like this for hours (which is probably why I’m not writing much, lol).

    • kingmidget May 14, 2016 at 7:05 am

      I was thinking of talking about oranges and orange juice also, but decided I had done enough. Glad to know we’re not alone in these “weird” thoughts.

  3. S.K. Nicholls May 14, 2016 at 9:03 am

    When my grandparents were feeding us, most everything was seasonal. If it was out of season, we didn’t get it. Now, foodstuffs are shipped and flown in from all over the world, every day. Amazing, huh? You can get cantaloupe and watermelon in the dead of winter, fresh ham in mid-summer. We never slaughtered pigs in summer d/t parasites, only on the coldest day in winter. After Christmas, the previous summer haul of potatoes was depleted and we ate biscuits and hoe cakes until the next potato crop came in. Fresh greens, were only around in Fall when the first frost hit. After the second crop, they were gone for the year. What we couldn’t eat had to be stored, frozen or canned or dried. If you couldn’t do that, you had to wait a year for it. I noticed our asparagus comes from Peru in winter and from USA in early summer, Chile or Mexico in Fall or Spring. It all has different flavor depending on the soil and climate its grown it. None of it tastes like grandmother’s.

    • kingmidget May 14, 2016 at 10:38 am

      My grandmother had the most incredible backyard. Two or three fruit trees — I don’t remember what kind except one was an apricot tree — and a well maintained fruit and vegetable garden. Raspberry vines along the back fence. Rhubarb over there and all manner of things. She always had canned things in her basement. I’m sure that it wasn’t everything she needed, but it was a lot. It’s a shame most of us don’t still live that way.

      • S.K. Nicholls May 14, 2016 at 11:14 am

        I brought my kids up that way. Worked my ass off on the farm. People say it’s not convenient, but it really was pretty convenient to step outside and pick your snacks. Processing the excess was the hard part. One year I canned 75 quarts of tomatoes/sauce. Another year I had twenty apple and twenty peach pies in the freezer. We always froze blueberries and sold more at the co-op fresh. Our biggest problem was having space for storage. We used my in-laws basement and had two freezers in their garage. The kids had a 150 acres to play on, but we slept and lived in a 12X60 foot mobile home. That’s not a lot of space for five people. After we moved to my Grandma’s house in town tending the farm became less convenient, especially with me working one or two nursing jobs. The farm was a few miles away. The in-laws quickly discovered how difficult it was to manage without me. Not bragging, but I was a workhorse. The two and a half acre garden went to hell after we left and I was buying most of my family’s produce at the grocery store. In-laws who had been quick to remove things I had put up in the freezer or on the basement shelves suddenly found them bare. We never paid them rent on the land and I never charged them for the work I was doing, but keeping four families fed was quite an accomplishment. I got pissed off many times when nobody else had time to help during harvests….but I did it for twelve years. Never, not once, heard a thank you.

  4. Kevin Brennan May 14, 2016 at 9:25 am

    Mind-boggling! I also think about the other end of the process — what winds up in the landfill? All the packaging and stuff.

    Civilization is like sausage-making and legislating …

    • kingmidget May 14, 2016 at 10:36 am

      That, too. The mountains and mountains of waste that goes along with all of this.

      I wonder what it would take to buy a couple of acres. Have enough space to have a steer or two for beef, some chickens for both eggs and for meat, a pig or two cause you gotta have bacon, a few fruit trees, and space for a range of veggies, and live off what I grew and raised to escape the madness.


  5. Arati June 5, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    This thinking certainly makes it easier for me to entertain the thought of fasting more often!

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