Hey all you Pandanistas, we’ve been having a lot of fun around here talking about berries and summertime and chillaxing, but I need to take a time-out to scoot up onto my soapboax and get serious with y’all.

As you know, Germany has started a new mini-holocaust, with people being stricken with E. Coli, a really scary germ that is passed around through infected foods. The last time they tried to have a holocaust, it was the Jewish people who were affected a lot, but this time around, they’re going after vegetarians (which is ironic because Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian!). It turns out that the E. Coli is being carried around on top of bean sprouts, the go-to favorite food of vegetarians.

Now, I don’t want you to think that I’m just going around Germany-bashing here. I actually have a lot of good friends who are ethnically part German. And also, any country that has given us the Smurfs, pretzels, and the Amish gets pretty high marks in my book! So, it’s not about that. And neither am I going to disparage vegetarians. I also have friends who happen to be vegetarians, who won’t eat any meat except for maybe a little seafood or white chicken meat. Believe it or not, but I am kind of partially vegetarian! – I will not eat veal or organ meats.

OK, now that I’ve got those disclaimers out of the way, why don’t we see what lessons we can learn from this big ol’ sprout mess going on across the pond.

1. Always, always, always make sure you clean your food! – One thing I learned from going strawberry picking, is that food can be filthy! I hate to get all gross, but a lot of our food comes right out of the dirt and muck. Except for maybe seaweed, which comes from the water and automatically comes pre-washed, this is the sad truth about pretty much everything you see in the supermarket’s produce section. So, make sure you scrub those veggies!

2. Organic does not always = winning! I know you hear all that talk in the media these days that you should only buy organic food, but guess what? It’s not always possible, and sometimes it’s downright dangerous! I wish I could spend my mornings choosing 17 dollar hand-polished Tibetan organic heirloom tomatoes at Whole Foods, but it’s not like I have Owen Wilson as a Sugar-Daddy (though I wish I did, if you know what I mean! ;-) ). And even if I could afford it, I think now I would have to think very hard before risking my life over these trendy foods. Think about it: would you rather play Russian Roulette with your German organic bean sprouts, or go the safe (and cheaper!) route and grab yourself a nice bag of Bird’s Eye Frozen Vegetables in Creamy Cheese Sauce?

3. Vegetarianism is not always the right choice. – There’s a lot of hatred and animosity between vegetarians and non-vegetarians but we have to end this fight right now, because both sides have their benefits. I know a lot of people don’t want to eat meat maybe for Hindu reasons or because they don’t want to offend their beloved pets, but as this German kerfuffle has shown sometime eating meat is simply the safer choice. So my advice is to eat both meat and vegetables: you’re going to need the protein from meat and minerals from vegetables to join me on my food journeys!

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