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Lunchtime: Bread & Meat

musings on language, garbage, and American fast food

By Halston WilliamsPublished 3 months ago 8 min read
Seagulls are naturally carnivorous coastal scavengers, but many busy, working-class seagulls in urban or midwestern areas prefer fast food for its convenience.

[ An excerpt from a novel that's been in-progess for a while]

On my lunch break from teaching. Strolling along industrial avenues, smelling, though never glimpsing, the (not so great) Salt Lake. Occasional gusts of wind blow dust from high-mountain desserts or smoke from a wildfire somewhere into the valley, which mixes with vehicular emissions to form the haze that those who live in the valley are asthmatically accustomed to. Nothing but fast food outlets, car dealerships, pawn shops, as parking lots —lots of parking lots— as far as the eye can see (through the haze anyway).

A Flock Of Seabirds. Gulls, in their grey-and-white Sunday-church feathers and neat cries, masses of them, squawking and flocking over bits of crabgrass, or seed-shells. The gulls screeched at each other, feathers now fluffed out and ruffled in disputes, in a frenzy to feed on whatever refuse they could find. Eureka! A crumpled gold'n white food-wrapper, still retaining a glittering logo ---A Crown? A White Castle? Maybe the curves of The Great Golden Arches? The sacred (copyrighted®) emblems of the cult of Golden Calf: "Over a Billion Served!" The gulls have fallen under the BurgerKonig's curse, and are quarreling over the spoiled spoils: Wrapped in a greasy, waxpaper shroud, and encased in fake-metal-plastic-wrap, it could have been preserved -- partially anyhow-- floated out to sea, then left lying in the sun for a few days.

They say thatʼs what happened with St. Gildas --that the holy saint's potted meat drifted in his lead-lined can for weeks, but that he was perfectly preserved. Mmm, Plumtree's Potted Meat. Probably tasted like S.P.A.M. or something...Yeck! Still, even Plumtree's wouldʼve been better than FastFood. Thought I heard somewhere that microbes wonʼt eat these processed 'meat' products, so they take forever to rot. Even the lowest-class organisms, Mr&Mrs.Bacteria (who can barely afford rent and utilities for a single-celled unit) say, "We Don't like SPAM!"

No, such vittles ainʼt fit for man nor beast. And yet, a lot of people live on it. Whoa, those gulls are really going at that. 
Itʼd be about as miraculous as a preserved saint, but there could still be some (food!) left in that wrapper. meat and bread for the hordes of carnivorous, sharp-beaked carrion birds to feast on.

Meanwhile, while the birds struggle to unwrap their rancid days-old order,


Letʼs review some selections from

Prof. Caedmonʼs

Grammar For Students of Anglo-Saxon (American)

Animal Husbandry (with storytime examples)

• Em-Eee-Ay-Tee => MEAT

| mēt ORIGIN: Old English mete [food] or [article of food] (sweetmeats)

Noun: 1- flesh of an animal (esp. a mammal) as food | meat [adj.] meat sandwiches, assorted meats.
 2- archaic food of any kind.

  • Many farmers raise cattle for meat.
  • The meat industry is very profitable.

• Em-Eee-Eee-Tee => MEET

| mēt
Verb: 1- come into the presence or company of (someone)by chance or arrangement:

  • I once met a cow on a farm named Bessie.
A week later I met her in the street as she was going with a farmer to the meat market.
I wanted to see Bessie again before she left, so I tried to meet the farmer for lunch.

make the acquaintance of (someone) for the first time:

[ intrans. ] (of a group of people) assembled for a purpose):

[ intrans. ] ( meet with) have a meeting with (someone) :

  • I wanted to speak with the farmer, but he had a meeting with the chairman of the F.D.A.

go to a place and wait there for (a person or their means of transport) to arrive :

  • I offered to meet the farmer and Bessie at their destination, but the farmer refused.

touch; join, (figurative) :

  • As Bessie left with the farmer, her eyes met mine with a look of deep sadness.

encounter or be faced with (a particular fate, situation) :

( meet something with) have (a particular reaction) to :

[ intrans.] (meet with) receive (a particular reaction)

Later, when I met the farmer again, my sad reaction to Bessie’s death was met with scorn.
  • He said, “Hey, I’m sorry if modern animal husbandry don’t meet with your approval.”

  • He offered to meet me for dinner at local steakhouse, with “the best prime-rib in town.”

2- fulfill or satisfy (a need, requirement, or condition)
: deal with or respond to (a problem or challenge) satisfactorily

pay (a financial claim or obligation)

  • I asked him what he was going to do to better meet the needs of his other cows.

  • He replied, “I’m meeting FDA standards for treatment and humane slaughter of animals.”
  • “Besides, I have my own expenses that gotta be met, ‘fore I’d worry ‘bout them dumb-ass cows!”


M-E-A-T : (noun) the food of warriors and kings

Formerly: a large herbivorous animal living, breathing, standing, mooing, drinking, eating, sleeping,
 shitting, standing, riding in a truck, and being very frightened, until- BANG!

 The Beef/Steak is still bleeding / bloody / extra-rare 
(Wait, it's still twitching! Oh.My.God. I mean, Jesus! That Cowʼs NOT even DEAD.... yet)
. The Beef/Steak was moved mechanically onto the conveyer-belt, then . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . > The Beef/Steak was hung on a hook, was butchered, and was put into the MEAT grinder.

Post-Post-Mortem: (Yes, it's most-definitely-dead now.)
 The Hamburger patties were pre-packaged, flash-frozen, de-frosted, and flame-broiled.

The Hamburger was purchased, half-eaten, then discarded.

The End (?)


Whatever meat's left has got to be all rotten and nasty by now. Still, those seagulls are sure after it. What if it was a chicken sandwich? Freakin' avian cannibals would eat that too, for sure. They'll eat anything.

Maybe they'll just find some pieces of old, stale bread instead.


B-R-E-A-D : (noun) the food of workers and peasants

Once Upon A Time, in a little cottage hearth-oven, there was a

B aked,

R ustic, 

E dible, 

A rtisanale, 

D oughy,

fluffy foodstuff made from Grains.

The farmers grew the grain, the millers milled the grain, the housewives kneaded & baked it.

We all ate it, and it was Good.

The End (of bread as we knew it) 


Maybe thereʼll be nothing for the seagulls but crumpled napkins inside, not even any bread at all.


Once Upon A Time, in a huge, industrialized factory, thereʼs a product which will be (in the not-too-distant Future) 

B aked by big, electric furnaces and giant gas-ovens, and which will be
Ready-in-less-than-10 minutes (although scarely recognizable.) It will have been made with

E nriched-bleached-white-flour, in enormous mixers that will have mixing the flour for hours, with

A dditional additives, chemically-pasturized Vitamin-D milk, and self-rising yeast. It will form a

D ough-like product

It is very white, and not terrible. For reasons people will have forgotten, this sponge-like product was once called "Wonder Bread." A few people will still wonder if the word "Bread" ever had any other meaning, besides the

B aked by big, electric furnaces and giant gas-ovens, and which will be

R eady-in-less-than-10 minutes (although scarely recognizable.) It will have been made with

E nriched-bleached-white-flour, in enormous mixers that will have mixing the flour for hours, with

A dditional additives, chemically-pasturized Vitamin-D milk, and self-rising yeast. It will form a

D ough-like product

which is cheap, non-perishable, mold-resistant, and tastes...... not terrible.

And as they were eating, He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”

We put processed M-E-A-T product on B-R-E-A-D and eat it.


Ah, those seagulls have got the wrapper open now. Mustʼve pecked away it the outer layers until they exposed the innards. Spilling its guts. Wonder how long that stuff has been there. Probably tastes offal. 
They seem to like it, though. A banquet laid before the hordes of sea buzzards to gorge on. For 5 minutes. 

A scraggly Albatross circles over them, looking down below, and contemplating landing a safe distance away from all the skwaking harpies fighting for the prize. But the Albatross thinks better of it. Best not to go down to earth at all. For what? A gold wrapped, rotting apple-core of discord, branded “For the Fiercest.”

Birds. Animals. People. All almost killing each other daily for a piece of foolʼs-gold-foil-paper, enclosing a few tidbits of grisle or breadcrumbs. Stale, burnt bits of cowʼs you-donʼt-wanna-know-parts, twice masticated--innards, tripes, beef-hearts-- and preserved in rancid beef-fat, wrapped in paper-meltallo-plastic. “Do yʼall want fries with that?” 

TODAYʼS SPECIAL: Specialite de la Maison:

Our secret house recipe Terrine de Tauro Americaine

for the fattening of bovids avec les huitres de la montagne

at the Great Golden Arches des frites, et du sauce BBQ

You know, for some strange reason, I'm just not hungry anymore.

Time to return to work: empty stomach, mind over-full. The siren traffic noises and muggy haze make me long for greener pastures.


Le sacre coeur de boeufs

Always waiting for that one glorious gettinʼ up moring when theyʼll make the jorney to the promised land of the golden Brahma-Bull, the land of sweet grasses, where there are no ploughs, or milking machines, where little calvies all grow fat on moootherʼs milk, and have never heard that horrid 4-letter word, V-E-A-L. Where the lowing of 1/4 of the Tetramorphy fills every soft-evening and every dewy-morning with the mystical moo-ing of moon-calves, the ancient cow-songs of the Holy Vedic Psalms, 
 and the rejoyceful lowing of the Cattle of Israel!


Bovine Lord Brahma,

Oh, Holy Golden Horned-ness,

Divine Herdsman of silky kine,

O-give us a hOHMmm,

Where water buffalo rOHMmm,

Where the deer and the antelope arenʼt flayed...


An oasis in the Desert, where the holy troughs of Isis are always filled with sweet water, where the fields are lush with alfalfa and clover, nourished by never-ending flow from the udders of Moo-Mother Ganga. A land without farms or barns or dairies, of endless grassy pasturelands and prairies, without rustlers or ranchers or stockmen or cowboys, for as far as bovid-eyes can see. Where leather boots of the Gauchos of Indra have never set foot, never struck fear into the hearts of beasts with their fiery-red |S/S|S lighting-brands, or their Smith&Wesson Thunder- Sticks. A blessed land for beeves, without horseflies or deerflies, without fences, feedlots, barbed wire, or cattlegard-gratings, and where bovine spongiform encephalopathy and aphthae epizooticae are no more than bad dreams that cowkind no longer remembers.

Holy Mooo-ther, full of graze,

We bellow in praise of thee and thine,

The Divine Herdsman of silky kine, 


Oh, give us a hOHMmm,

Where water buffalo rOHMmm,

Where the deer and antelope arenʼt flayed...


Where seldOHMmm is heard,

A discouraging word,

And hymns to the Cattle are said...



About the Creator

Halston Williams

Eternal Student: literature, poetry, history, art, and philosophy. English Teacher. Writer & painter. Traveller & skier (when there's $$$). I'm young enough to be foolish, yet old enough to know better. Lover of dark & beautiful things.

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