Species of the Origin
by Mad Dog
They say all
champagne should come from the Champagne region of France, feta cheese
should be made only in Greece, and haggis should be exclusively cooked
up in Scotland. Just kidding about the haggis.
||Not long ago, the European
Union, which would be called the United States of Europe except that
they’re not united and not states, released a list of 41 food items
which have names they say should only be used when a product is made in
a specific area and manner. European areas and manners, of course. And
why not? We all know Europeans have better manners than we do. Then
again, who doesn’t?
They say all champagne should come
from the Champagne region of France, feta cheese should be made only in
Greece, and haggis should be exclusively cooked up in Scotland. Just
kidding about the haggis. It doesn’t really need to be protected since
no one else in the world has ever considered boiling lamb offal and
oatmeal in a sheep’s stomach, not even in Biafra during the worst of
Other food names the EU wants
reserved include Bordeaux, ouzo, Gorgonzola, and Italian Parma ham,
which the Italians are upset about because they can’t sell it in
Canada under that name. It seems a company there already holds the
trademark to “Parma Ham” for a product it makes in Canada. Parma,
Ontario, Canada, of course. If this doesn’t get straightened out
quickly the Italians might retaliate by making their own Canada Dry
ginger ale, Prince Albert tobacco, and Canadian bacon, which would
actually be a money saver when they cook up Hawaiian pizzas. Right, like
any self-respecting Italian would want pineapple and Canadian bacon on a
pizza. Of course this could open a whole new can of, uh, pineapple,
since Hawaii might decide that no one but they have the right to use
their state’s name on a pizza. See how quickly this gets messy?
Here in the United
States we have our own products to protect. Like American cheese. Even
though no other country has ever shown any interest in making it, we
shouldn’t take any chances.
This is far from a new battle. In 1994 the United States and the
European Union agreed to respect some of each other’s products, but
only if we promised to learn how to pronounce crêpe,
Liebfraumilch, and croissant without sounding like we have a mouth full
of each. As a result of this agreement, no one in Europe can call their
whiskey bourbon and we can’t call ours Scotch. Luckily we’re still
allowed to make the only Scotch tape, which proves how strong the
adhesive tape lobby is in this country. I think I’d better contact my
agent quickly and see if she can sell that phrase to the tape lobby to
use as their official slogan.
Although U.S. vintners aren’t yet
barred from using the name champagne, out of respect for the bubbly
product which originated in France many already use terms like sparkling
wine, Methode Champenoise, and Cold Duck to differentiate their
products from beverages you’d enjoy drinking. Lest you think the EU is
being too demanding, remember that they haven’t asked that all
frankfurters be made in Frankfurt, Danish pastries baked in Denmark, or
English Leather made in England. Just kidding about the last one.
Everyone knows English Leather comes from a decomposing landfill in
Lodi, New Jersey.
The Europeans aren’t the only ones
becoming possessive about their products. In India they say Darjeeling
tea should only come from their country, while Thailand claims the name
Basmati rice should be exclusively theirs. Here in the United States we
have our own products to protect. Like American cheese. Even though no
other country has ever shown any interest in making it—probably
because they’re afraid to find out what’s in it or why it comes
individually wrapped in plastic like Cheese For Dummies—we shouldn’t
take any chances. After all, there’s no telling how vindictive the EU
might feel if Wisconsin doesn’t stop making feta. That’s why we
should bargain hard to ensure that no one in Europe tries to make
Mississippi mud pie, New York style pizza, or Rocky Mountain oysters,
not that it’s likely anyone would consider doing the latter. At least
not if they have any idea what they really are.
If they push too much the U.S. might have to retaliate by
forcing the Europeans to not use the name Arnold unless they’re
referring to California’s governor.
The battle could heat up. The next thing you know the EU will
insist that New Jersey change its name because the Channel Island was
using it first. Then Paris, Texas, Rome, New York, and both
Athens’—Georgia and Ohio—will have to come up with new names.
Luckily New Mexico will be safe because Mexico isn’t a member of the
European Union. Yet. This is a good thing since there’s already enough
confusion about the state. According to New Mexico magazine, many
Americans believe the state is a foreign country. They even had a
monthly column which reprinted examples of this, which proves just how
lacking our education system is. Hell, I thought everyone knew the only
state that’s truly foreign is California.
Luckily some countries are making
concessions. For a while Greece was insisting that kalamata olives could
only come from their country but they relented. Switzerland wanted their
Etivaz cheese protected until they found out no one else had ever heard
of it. And Britain agreed to remove Blue Stilton from the list, but only
if the Tony Awards are renamed so people don’t think their Prime
Minister is sponsoring them.
It’s a good thing they’re not
being too hard-headed. If they push too much the U.S. might have to
retaliate by forcing the Europeans to not use the name Arnold unless
they’re referring to California’s governor, even though Benedict
Arnold, also-ran Gary Coleman’s TV character, and the pig on Green
Acres had claim to the name first. But that’s okay because they
all have the same country of origin, even though Arnold the Pig is
rumored to have been shipped to Parma, Canada to be preserved for
posterity. Or rather, for breakfast. But whatever you do, don’t even
think about making French toast to go with him. You know, I think I just
lost my appetite completely.
©2003 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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