Archive for January 25th, 2009
Belvidere, NE- When Home Economics teacher Fran Gill refused to read a statement about culinary design before her lesson on the origin of modern recipes, she was taking a stand. She had no idea that this simple act of defiance would create a controversy, at least a local one. For while national attention has focused on the events in Louisiana and Texas regarding the teaching of evolution, a small public school in Nebraska is having its own battle.
In 2008, the Belvidere school board, which consists of mayor Spooner Jenkins, who also serves as fire chief and deliverer of copies of the Ye Olde Nebraskian to 42 of the 43 houses every Sunday, voted unanimously to approve the forced teaching of culinary design(CD) in the town’s one room schoolhouse. The 43rd house in this picturesque community belongs to Maynard Wilks who refuses to subscribe to the statewide newspaper because of a long running feud with Myrna Miller, his neighbor and winner of the town bake-off 53 years running. When asked for more specific reasons he muttered, “No good Myrna Miller and her dagnab peach cobbler. Tastes like 3-day-old biscuits if you asked me!”.
This red brick building, which has been used as the town school since Randy Watson’s Chicken Taco Casserole stand went bankrupt in 1983, employs 1/2 of the town’s population. The other half are farmers and/or farming assistants. There are 3 students, Jimron Watkins, Susabell Watkins, and Jimron Watkins Jr., each of which are currently taking Home Economics 101 which has always been a popular course with students and teachers. Other courses offered at the school are Tractor Repair I, II, and Advanced Tractor Theory; Wheat; Corn; Cow Parts; The Art of Taxidermy; Careers in Soil Management; UFO Abduction Basics; Whuppin; and Algebra.
Most chefs and food scientists accept that modern recipes have, over billions of years, come to exist in their current form through a series of random ingredient additions resulting in more palatable combinations. Recipes more pleasing to the taste had a better chance of surving while those which offended the taste buds were cast aside. Of note, the Theory of Dietary Evolution does not comment on the origin of the first recipe although this is an area of extreme scientific interest. It does, with over a hundred years of solid scientific investigation to support it, explain how early recipes consisting of the most basic ingredients such as salt and pepper evolved into such modern entities as Baked Alaska and Chicken-Vegetable Kabobs.
Culinary Design supporters claim that the true evidence actually points toward an intelligent creator of modern recipes. And they disagree with those skeptics who feel that they have a religious agenda. “They are just trying to force god, or the holy chef as they like to call him, into our public schools!”, Floyd Watkins, father of Jimron Watkins, grandfather of Jimron Watkins Jr., and school janitor, gym teacher, hall monitor, and busdriver was heard to say by Jethro Laney, town car washer, sheriff, and head cook at Ronda’s $2 dollar cafe, where every item on the menu is $2 except for the World Famous $3 Dollar Meatloaf. When I pointed out the redundancy in using a dollar sign as well as the word dollar, Ronda growled, “The sign says 3 buck so that’s what you gotta pay for it!”.
So will this growing controversy tear the peaceful town of Belvidere, Nebraska apart? Will the expected influx of the media and other strange city folk affect the good natured attitude Belvidere is famous for. Only time and an upcoming trial will tell. The residents have called in lawyers from nearby Carleton, Nebraska, population 136, to represent the opposing sides on this issue. Carleton will send it’s two lawyers, both of whom will soon be graduates of the Correspondence College of Tampa’s Lawyer School. This will surely be a clash of titanic proportions.