Opinion: The price you pay
Campus cockroaches should buy their own meal
Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 00:10
In my hometown, there’s this little shack right down the road from my house that sells the best barbecue in the world. I know this is a hotly debated topic, but just shove a slow cooked pork rib in your mouth and sit down.
This magical mecca of meat is a seasonal affair, subject to the whims of lake house occupants and camouflaged alpha males ready for the slaughter. Every now and then, it stays closed for a bit longer than expected, and this is rumored to be the result of a few health
With these admittedly plausible rumors floating about, I am faced with a decision every time I visit my hometown — do I shove my face in a pile of brisket and sausage and potato salad, or do I stick to something safer?
Some people call this a dilemma. I call it delicious. Hand me a napkin and call “sooie,” because you can bet I’m planning on pigging out on that pork as soon as I cross that last county line.
Growing up in a, “yes ma’am, yes sir,” kind of southern home, it’s impossible to leave home without knowing what good food is. No matter how many salads I eat or calories I count, my soul will always yearn for anything smothered in cheese.
You learn how to hunt down a decent meal, living in small town Texas. If the paint is chipping, the waiter is missing all but one tooth and you’ve got to elbow a mangy rat (who, incidentally, also only has one tooth) off your enchiladas, you can bet that’s going to be the best dinner you’ve had all month.
That’s why, when the Brazos County Health Department announced on Thursday they had closed multiple kitchens due to roach infestation and rodent droppings, I wasn’t concerned about sanitation in the least bit. But let me tell you — I know the going rate and standard quality for rat-poop-pizza, and we are getting robbed.
The beauty of questionable cuisine lies in its price. When I pay low, low prices for food, I enter into an unspoken, but consensual, contract. By paying 99 cents for a carton of fries, I am saying, “Yes, I know full well there might be a freshly battered and salted antennae in this pile of fried potatoes. And I am okay with that.”
In 2011, a certain fast food establishment whose name rhymes with “Yaco Smell” came under attack when a lawsuit alleged their beef was less than meat. This was ridiculous. Sometimes, when it is 2 a.m. and I am drunk (sorry mom), I just want a burrito. And even in this inebriated state, I am fully aware that a burrito that costs me one dollar and nine cents may not be made of the freshest natural ingredients.
This lowered price is an acknowledgement of substandard quality. Being able to buy a greasy, sawdust taco for a handful of quarters is part of what makes America great.
A higher price, however, tells me, “Yes, we meet all the U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines, thank you very much.” If I use 10 of my hard-earned scholarship dollars to get into Sbisa, I expect to eat my food with the minimal amount of rat and insect feces.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m willing to share my world with the cockroach. I’ve seen “The Lion King.” I know how the circle of life works. I’ll even share my cheap food with them, as long as they stay in the kitchen where I can’t see them.
But no cockroach, no mouse, no rat — none of them can share my seven-dollar quesadilla. Not unless they’re planning on splitting the bill.