I was wandering through the garden section of our local hardware store when I got trapped in an aisle by four people discussing gluten. I was intrigued because I didn’t (and still don’t) know much about gluten except that some people are allergic to it. I’ve seen the gluten free products on store shelves and have even baked and eaten some of them myself, but that is the extent of my gluten or gluten-free knowledge. So, I lingered over a tomato plant and listened to this guys as he said, “People just don’t realize what they are putting into their bodies. They make glue out of gluten for Christ’s sake. Glue! Artists use it to paste things together. We’ve been eating art supplies.” The three other people were nodding their heads in shock and I noticed the woman facing me had eyes as big as saucers. I could tell she was about to have a panic attack thinking about all of the “art supplies” she had consumed and digested over the past 25 years. I felt sorry for her, but I wasn’t too impressed with the art supplies argument. I mean, we’ve all been eating art supplies for years and years and this is the first time I’ve ever heard someone get so upset over it. Also, my best friend in kindergarten ate a lot of paste (or was that me?) and put corn up her nose too. If the paste was just made out of wheat gluten, I must confess, I actually feel a little better about the whole eating it thing.
So, seriously let’s talk about all of our edible art supplies. Eggs have been used to make glue. Yes, egg whites are a natural glue. Tempera paints: made with eggs. Some of those amazing old paintings hanging in our galleries…those were painted with eggs. My husband claims he was forced to eat horse meat as a child (this has been publicly refuted by his parents) and glue has been made out of horses. Berries, minerals and anything else you can think of with strong, distinct colors has been used as pigment in paint and to dye fabrics for clothing and other household items for centuries. Vegetables, like potato’s, have been carved into stamps. Various plants have been used as stencils. I could go on and on and on, but I won’t. Mostly because I am even starting to bore myself with this list of art supplies and because it just makes me want to give up writing all together and go start painting again. Or, at least go eat lunch.
Anyway, I am not saying people should eat gluten. I’m not a dietitian. I’m just saying that the art supply argument seems a little silly to me. If we embrace the art supply argument that means we have to stop eating eggs, vegetables, fruits, and horse meat too (now I am officially starving – not for horse meat though).
When I think about all of the foods we aren’t supposed to eat I end up hungry. Fruits and vegetables have been genetically modified, sprayed with pesticides, and picked before they are ripe. Starches, sugars and wheat will cause obesity, diabetes and death. Meat will give you a heart attack before long. Dairy products are laced with hormones. Even our water is contaminated with arsenic and old lace half the time. I’m starting to think art supplies are the least of my worries. I’d rather eat paste than pesticides, but who knows? Maybe I just developed a taste for it in Kindergarten…I mean “my friend” probably did, or something.
What food worries do you have?