Food For Thought

Andy Ponders Eating Spinach, Horsemeat And Vegetarianism

The following is a weekly 60 Minutes commentary by CBS News correspondent Andy Rooney.

Someone is always warning us not to eat something. We're warned about fast food all the time. Farm raised salmon is a threat because it may contain mercury. You could become a thermometer. Beef was suspect a few years ago because of the mad cow disease.

Recently it's been spinach. Consumers should not eat bagged fresh spinach at this time, we were warned.

For years mothers have been telling their kids to eat their spinach. Now, all of a sudden, they're telling them not to eat their spinach. No one is supposed to eat it because it may contain the E.coli bacteria. Supermarkets threw out bags of it.

Imagine being a simple, hard-working farmer who made a living growing spinach and then waking up one day to find that your fields with a couple of acres of spinach, representing your only income, are worthless?

I read where 17,000 farmers in India committed suicide a few years ago because their crops failed. 17,000 farmers! You can imagine a lot of spinach farmers doing that here, now.

I never liked spinach much. I like it okay raw in salad and, of course, they warn you that raw spinach is the worst kind.

There are only a couple of things I won't eat. I don't care much for Brussels sprouts, liver or custard desserts. I don't like anything that shakes - you know, gelatin or Jell-O. I hated carrots when I was a kid. I've gotten over hating them. Now I eat them but I don't like them much and I doubt very much if they're any better for you than a Hershey Bar.

I like steak, lamb and pork chops but you couldn't make me eat rabbit or horse. When I was in France during World War II, horses would often be killed in the fields by artillery fire and the French farmers would wait until the shooting stopped and then rush out to carve up the dead horses for dinner.

I don't know why anyone who eats beef finds the idea of eating a horse so repulsive but I'm one of them. Horses seem so friendly and I don't like to be reminded of the animal I'm eating. I often pass a farm with cows grazing in the field and I think to myself how terrible it is that human beings grow other animals just to kill them and eat them.

Most of us think of vegetarians as nuts and I'm not a vegetarian but I wouldn't be surprised if we came to a time in 50 or 100 years when civilized people everywhere refused to eat animals. I could be one of them.

Of course, I'd be pretty old by then.
By Andy Rooney