Chapter 73
Overpackaged Food
The Tales of Texas

1a - The Mysterious Ski Rack
1b - Wheres the Other Half of That Moose
1c - The Waiter Who Didnt Yall
1d - Scorpions, Scorpio
2a - Diet Soda
2b - Riding into the Sunrise
3 - Modest Magazines
4 - Down to Houston
5a - What Does That Sign Say
5b - Just Follow Your Nose
5c - They Call It the Sunbelt
5d - The State Tree
6 - The New House
7a - Billboards
7b - Billboards Again
8 - Stereo Upgrade
9 - Wineries
10 - Unintentionally Left Blank
11 - CBW in TX
12 - Ice House Radio
13 - Goats and Cotton
14 - Dig We Must
15 - Dan Moody
16 - Dry Heat
17 - Dead Animals
18a - Bookstore Culture
18b - On the Open Road
19 - Weather
20 - Sightings in Bertram and Buchanan
21 - Too Many Birds
22 - Road Hazards
23 - Sightings to and from Houston
24 - The Great Wall of Train
25 - In the Heat of the Day
26 - Bite Me
27 - Bid on This Skeleton
28 - Willie
29 - Rural Countryside
30 - SUV SUX!
31 - Kinky on the Texas Monthly Hour
32 - Strange Yellow Sky
33 - Football is a Serious Enterprise in Texas
34 - Remember the Alamoo!
35 - What's That on the Radio
36 - Trip to Houston through the small towns
37 - Shoe Story, an Austin Anecdote
38 - Unintended Fireworks
39 - Flash Flood Warning
40 - Sin City
41 - Live music in Austin, but in theaters not in clubs
42 - Fear of Overpass
43 - The Big Sneezy
44 - New Texas
45 - Front Ended by the French Fry Mobile
46 - Dirt Farm
47a - Heard at the Texas Book Festival 2008
48a - Texas Book Festival 2009
49 - Central Time Sucks
50 - Temple Texas
51 - Christmas in Austin
52 - Pennants in the Wind
53 - The Road Less Traveled
54 - Texas-size Thunderstorm
55 - Cool Van
56 - Your New House Is That-A-Way
57 - C.S.I. Austin
58 - New MTV Game Show
59 - Equine Technology
60 - Look at That Prairie
61 - Get Your Water Here
62 - Corporate Anniversaries
63 - College Sprawl
64 - Hire These Guys
65 - Preparing for Winter
66 - Careful What You Overhear
67 - Bonnie Raitt
68 - Perfume
69 - Questionable Skills
70 - All-American Day
71 - Read Me
72 - Weird Fog
73 - Overpackaged Food
74 - What Town Was That
75 - Texas Book Festival 2010
76 - Bulletproof Roof
77 - The Oldest Photo
78 - Cheesesteaks Part 1
79 - Cheesesteaks Part 2

Strange Food

20091210

Not sure if this is unique to Texas, but it sure is unique in my experience.

Off-site meeting, food ordered from a local caterer. Lunch today was "sandwiches, assorted." A dozen white boxes show up, like small cake or pie boxes. Each box contains a sandwich, chips, mustard, mayo, napkin, and knife. Assorted turkey, ham, roast beef, veggie. So far so good.

The odd part is that the sandwiches are do-it-yourself. The bread, meat, cheese, and lettuce/tomato slice are all separately packaged in four ZipLoc bags. Oh, and the meat is sliced, folded in half, and wrapped in yet another piece of plastic before it is placed in the plastic bag. To DIY-build your own sandwich, you open each bag, take out the contents, assemble them in the order and placement you want, squish and spread condiments, slice, and serve.

And you're left with four empty plastic bags that never had much of a career, as plastic bags go. Seems excessive, four bags. Three slices of ham, folded in half, wrapped in plastic, placed in a zippered bag, and then sealed. One lonely cheese slice in a bag, sealed. One lonely piece of lettuce, one lonely slice of tomato, placed in a bag, sealed. And two slices of bread -- two, at least they could keep each other company -- in a bag, sealed.

Hyper, ultra, mega over-packaging. I mean, Kraft Singles are bad enough: one little slice of cheese -- which itself is fairly plastic, but that's a different rant -- wrapped individually in plastic, then sardined with a dozen of its compatriots and wrapped in more plastic. This is worse. Each slice is wrapped in plastic sheet and plastic bag.

Can this be a Texas thing? Is there so much oil here that we have to wrap a modest sandwich in so much petrochemical product?