Thursday, February 10, 2011

Old School Thursday: Diet Coke for a Small Planet Edition

Welcome to National Cream Cheese Brownie Day, a day so narrow that it goes beyond the ridiculous and into the straight-up dumb. I mean, I like a cream cheese brownie as much as the next girl, but come on. Just…no.

Today in food history, otherwise, is pretty random (not that cream cheese brownies aren’t random. They are.) We’ve got three big birthdays: Ira Remsen (1846), Frances Moore Lappe (1944) and the styrofoam cool (1957). Of these three, styrofoam’s probably the most famous, but as it turns out, Remsen is the one who has probably impacted my life in the most positive, and huge, way.

So let’s start with Remsen. He was an American chemist and his claim to fame is that he co-discovered the artificial sweetener saccharin. Since without saccharin, there probably wouldn’t be Diet Coke, I am eternally grateful for Mr. Remsen’s contributions to science.

Frances Moore Lappe has had much less of an effect on my life, though I had heard of her, since her book, Diet for a Small Planet, was a favorite of Ruth Reichl’s when she was living in Berkeley in the ‘70s. The book encourages people to eat with the health of the planet in mind, including an emphasis on vegetables over meat. Needless to say, I haven’t really taken that to heart. I like meat.

And finally…the cooler. Friend to tailgaters everywhere, the Styrofoam cooler is one of the world’s more useful inventions, even if it’s not the most environmentally friendly. No doubt that Ms. Lappe would disapprove, and rightly so, but isn’t it nice to live in a world where we can buy a two dollar disposable cooler if we need one?

To celebrate today, I say we let the Diet for a Small Planet cancel out the cooler, and just keep it simple: crack open a Diet Coke to wash down your cream cheese brownie. Cheers.

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