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THE LOWDOWN: Where there’s Sprank, there’s hope

Richard Hoad

THE LOWDOWN: Where there’s Sprank, there’s hope

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We found him lying next to our garbage can, all skin and bones. Only a wave of his tail let on that he was still alive. He must have figured, “Hell, man, I ain’t had much of a life. But this here garbage can will make one helluva rootin’ tootin’ casket and I can go out in style!”
Nowadays “Sprank” is king of the farm, in boundless good health, barking his head off and charging. Thank heaven he doesn’t have a credit card ’cause nobody charges like Sprank, plant pots flying, door-mats scattering, coming through.
Remember Sprank in tough times. They starved his body; they couldn’t kill his spirit.
So, my friend Coot, have done with the defeatist “We now have to acknowledge CARICOM and a global world”. Men who vowed to abide wives “till death do us part” have escaped in a year. We got out of European colonialism and Federation. Caribbean colonialism and white world government are just two more challenges. Sprank ain’t worried.
What else is positive? We’re finally getting a clear message from government. Add a little piece onto your house without planning permission, the PM wants legislation to send you to jail. But squat on restricted water zone land you don’t own, build a whole house illegally? We’re changing the zones so you can get a water connection.
A Jamaican sues us in a CARICOM court. She gets hefty compensation. The Jamaica Press eats us raw. Me, I refuse even say “grace” before meals lest someone think I’m endorsing a Jamaican food product. But our government jumps in the ling, sandalising our name.
Clear message. Go figure.
Anyway, today we’re talking food. UWI-sponsored Dr Ervin Davis recently pontificated, prompting the headline “Doctor: Beware of milk”. Nicely timed to coincide with a nation-wide “drink milk” essay competition for schoolchildren. Congrats to grandson Raffie who brought home the Class 3 bacon for All Saints Primary.
Unfortunately the goodly doctor’s thesis is neither based on “facts” nor “science” as he claims. There are “studies” by “scientists” to support any food nonsense you like.
So why milk? Milk is a low-fat (about 3.5 per cent) product which over centuries has been rightly called “nature’s most perfect food”. Some Brass Tacks jokers claim it was designed only for babies and young animals.
More nonsense. If milk was designed for babies, breasts would be square, detachable containers for easy storage in the fridge. Instead they are the most sexually alluring shapes known to mankind. And far more breasts are nursed by adults than babies.
I drink lots of full-cream milk every day. Also eat lots of meat, especially pork with a preference for fat, gristle, marrow and skin with a few hairs. After tests a few weeks ago the doctor commented: “Your cholesterol is good. Better than mine!”
But, tell me, what foods were “designed” for man to eat? Cassava – laced with cyanide? Coconuts – 50 feet up in a tree in a hard-tail shell? Breadfruit, yams, potatoes that require cooking?
The reality is that man discovered by trial and error over the centuries what was good for food and what was not. And milk and meat were winners from the start. Animals can consume hardy plants that we can’t and convert them into first class protein. While most of the food plants we eat directly require endless spraying with toxic chemicals.
Peter “Nebuchadnezzar” Wickham has opted to eat grass and “cut out the middle-man” – the animals. Slight problem, Peter. Check any anatomy picture. See that little thing hanging down under your belly? So small it’s deemed “rudimentary” or “vermiform” – like a little worm?
That’s your appendix and probably functioned like the caecum in rabbits. Like ruminants, rabbits can digest plant material. But the caecum where this happens is too far down for the nutrients to be absorbed. So a rabbit has to eat his poop to get it second time around.
We now know from cave drawings that this is how prehistoric man operated. Grass was digested in the appendix and he had to eat his effluent. Until one afternoon a group were sitting around thusly engaged when Uz grunted: “This is s**t! I’m having me a steak instead”.
And as soon as the aroma of hickory-smoked barbecued sirloin wafted across the valley, eating grass was history.
• Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator.