In which Earl makes my Friday

Carla Axtman

This is some funny stuff: (via Jeff Mapes at The Oregonian). After a pretty intense week--it feels good to have a giggle:

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    OK, to Carla, Earl and everyone else who's picking this up and running with it -

    No one is trying to get pizza classified as a vegetable. It's tomato paste that's being classified as a vegetable. It uses the same logic that classifies whole wheat bread as a serving of whole grains because it uses whole wheat flour. It's actually the flour that's classified as a whole grain. BTW, whole wheat pasta also counts as a whole grain serving as does whole wheat bread whether it's in a roll, sliced or comes as the base for pizza.

    Tomato paste is made from tomatoes. Take a look at a can of the paste (not tomato sauce, but tomato paste). All you should see in there is tomatoes as the ingredient, that's it. That's why tomato paste qualifies as a vegetable (even though tomatoes are actually a fruit, but that's another discussion).

    Also, potatoes are classified as a vegetable. Now those potatoes may be made into french fries, they may be steamed, boiled, pan fried or baked. People may turn them into mashed potatoes. But all of those culinary uses qualify as a vegetable serving, just as a bowl of vegetable soup qualifies.

    Now I understand that for culinary purposes, both tomatoes and potatoes are called vegetables, as are summer and winter squash, eggplant, peppers and cucumbers (all technically fruit). But I do get so sick and tired of people taking something like the tomato paste issue and spinning it into pure misinformation in order to shift public opinion.

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      I agree the sound bite is misleading. But what happened wasn't that tomato paste was being reclassified, but rather scant amounts of tomato paste on pizza get counted as a vegetable, against USDA's plan.

      From the AP:

      The bill also would allow tomato paste on pizzas to be counted as a vegetable, as it is now. USDA had wanted to only count a half-cup of tomato paste or more as a vegetable, and a serving of pizza has less than that.

      And as much as I like potatoes, french fries aren't really health foods. They're a huge contributor to obesity, and childhood obesity. We have a responsibility to do better.

      On the tomatoes as fruit argument, the Supreme Court ruled they were a vegetable in 1893. Not that that was the right decision, but...

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      Potatoes are tubers and are not a fruit.

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      Hmm.....I make tomato paste in the late summer when I usually have a bumper crop of tomatoes. The paste regularly includes seasonings, olive oil, sugar and sometimes a pureed pepper.

      Others I know also add garlic and often lemon juice.

      I don't think this qualifies it as a serving of vegetables on a slice of pizza. In fact, I think its ludicrous to make that claim. Earl is right to poke fun at it.

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    Where is Senator Heinz when you need him? From the "ketchup is a vegetable" debate in the 1980's: Republican Senator John Heinz (whose company owns Heinz ketchup) said “Ketchup is a condiment. This is one of the most ridiculous regulations I ever heard of, and I suppose I need not add that I know something about ketchup and relish–or did at one time.”

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