November 16, 2007

Meat gift.

I've been short on morning reading material since the Oregonian stopped trying to court my subscription, so today at breakfast I was looking through the Wine Country Gift Baskets catalog. Corporate holiday gift baskets of wine and status food are not the most logical thing to look at while eating one's homemade vegan peanut butter muesli (recipe forthcoming because it is de-goddamned-licious) and one's reusable travel cup of fairly traded coffee with unrefined sugar and soymilk, but I freely admit that the glossy pictures, the brightly excessive packaging, the carefully arranged abundance, the illusions of generosity and decadence, it all works precisely as designed and attracts the hell out of me. There. I said it. I lust after lavishly presented overconsumption, particularly when it involves expensive foodstuffs.

But despite my embarrassing familiarity with the contents of these damn catalogs, there is one thing that shows up in probably half of the baskets and I simply cannot wrap my head around it.


I cannot come to grips with the idea that people give meat as part of their pseudo-luxury gift baskets. It's just hilariously gauche. The fact that meat really is a luxury when considered in the scheme of human gastronomic history doesn't help to convince me it's not ridiculous to wrap up a chunk of flesh and give it as a fancy gift. I'm not even sure it's related to my own diet; after all, 98% if not all of the things included in these baskets are wildly unvegan. It's all cheeses and salmon patés and milk chocolate and butter cookies and the hell if I know what else. When my old office would get one of these baskets I'd generally run to unwrap it and find that I couldn't even nibble on the dry crackers because they were full of whey. But out of the whole mess, nothing seems remotely as perplexing and outrageous to me as the salami.

I mean, just look! How completely inappropriate does that salami look, nestled in among all the cookies and chocolates like a dildo on your kitchen counter? Let alone in your office. I'm beside myself.

My perusal of the catalog and website so far has suggested that I must be the only person in the world who thinks this way about, snicker, meat. Heehee. Seriously, am I insane? Alone in the universe? Please tell me your thoughts about, haha, giving people meat. For the holidays. In the office! Snort!

It's worth noting that while I am enjoying the hell out of the double-entendre here, the whole concept really is independently hilarious and I would like for you to address it on its own merits. Or just make inappropriate jokes. Whatever you want.

Posted by dianna at November 16, 2007 05:13 PM

I seem to recall getting a few of these meat baskets from my mom for various Christmases, which, in retrospects, seems both strangely impersonal and uncomfortably freudian. They were both edible and oedipal.

I also remember, since this was back in my meat-eating days, that the salami was always notably disappointing. Fatty and salty and not at all tasty. In fact, gift basket salamis are one of the things that helped me develop a generalized distaste for meat.

In terms of the salami's sexual connotations, I recall them being rather thick and blunt. I'm not sure if that's a good quality in a dildo or not.

This also reminds me of Katz's Deli, which during World War II had a program to send their food to the front to help remind soldiers of home. The campaign was advertised with the slogan "Send a Salami to Your Boy in the Army," and was promoted with pictures like this. Because nothing will get boys salivating for the taste of home like sending them a long, hard torbedo of hot, salty, tubular meat.

Posted by: MoltenBoron at November 16, 2007 08:35 PM

"Send a Salami to Your Boy in the Army"? Fucking New Yorkers, man. That scansion is just not okay.

Also, is that picture of the titular Katz, or The Archetypal Jewish Deli Dude With Armload Of Meat? Because it's a pretty phenomenal example of the latter.

Posted by: Dianna at November 16, 2007 11:39 PM

Apparently, Katz's Deli was founded in 1888, which makes it seem unlikely that that's THE Katz. It might well be A Katz, though.

Also, apparently the Katzes were immigrants from Russia, which gives lie to the notion that there are no Katz in America.

Posted by: Zach S. at November 17, 2007 09:02 AM

I used to think salami gift baskets were uber sexualized, until I got a big basket of chocolate vaginas for Christmas one year.

Posted by: didofoot at November 17, 2007 11:54 AM

And the winner is... you. Did you really get such a thing?

Posted by: Dianna at November 17, 2007 12:15 PM

Well, no. But if anyone is looking for gift ideas for me, I wouldn't turn down a chocolate genital gift basket. Make a note, people.

Posted by: didofoot at November 17, 2007 12:59 PM

I started Googling to find you some, but all I found was people talking about that damn chocolate Jesus sculpture. But let the record show my willingness to give you mixed chocolate genitals for a holiday gift.

Posted by: Dianna at November 17, 2007 03:28 PM

If you lived in Japan, you could buy a putter with a golden penis for the head (number 13 on the list). It's no gift basket of chocolate vaginas, but then what is?

And you could provide counterpoint with a teddy bear gun (#2). What's not to like?

Posted by: Zach S. at November 18, 2007 04:13 PM

And now I'm posting another comment to bump that last one off of the CementHorizon front page. I realized after posting it that maybe it's not the best thing in the world to have the words "Penis" and "Vagina" in the most recent comment for the site on the CH front page.

Posted by: Zach S. at November 18, 2007 04:17 PM

Dude, I'm so glad that you read meat-and-dairy gift basket catalogs for fun, too. I was just telling my Delightful Former Housemate that I've decided what he's getting for Christmas from the Popcorn Factory: a popcorn assortment bucket that some marketing person who was either (1) paying no attention to his job, or (2) paying fantastic attention to his job dubbed the "Happy Santa 3-Way."

Posted by: katie at November 18, 2007 08:14 PM