Me: No problem. Because America is involved in a gimlet-eyed, systemic reevaluation of many of our formerly cherished principles, including the knee-jerk veneration of Christopher Columbus, I wanted to discuss this song, which concerns nutrition, and which originated in the Boy Scouts and became a summer camp classic. It is sung to the tune of “The Old Gray Mare,” most notably by a folk singer named Tom Glazer, who also famously wrote an equally wonderful children’s song, and who once joked that his biggest fear was dying and having to tell St. Peter that his main accomplishment in life, his ticket to heaven, was having written “On Top of Spaghetti.”
Me: There are various iterations of this other nutrition song, but the most common is “Great green gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts / Mutilated monkey meat / Little dirty birdy feet / French fried eyeballs swimming in a pool of blood / And me without a spoon!” Is this a healthy example for the nation’s youth?
Doron: Animal intestines in general are not healthy. There’s a good supply of zinc, but viscera are rich in immune cells, and because everything you eat has to be recognized as food and not a foreign invader there is the possibility of confusion, and immune cells might increase immune readiness, so there is the risk of collateral damage because it can seem like a foreign part of another animal’s army, which can trigger an autoimmune response. Food poisoning, basically.
Doron: Plus, the meat from ape muscle is very dense, and difficult to chew, and high in saturated fats, which is inflammatory and can promote Western metabolic syndromes, resulting in apple- and pear-shaped children. And eyeballs and bird feet are mostly keratin, like hair. It is not healthy to eat hair. There is also cartilage, which is not nutritious. And dirty feet won’t necessarily be made clean by cooking. There is a significant bacterial load in cooked food.
Me: But isn’t this song important to develop children’s healthy sense of subversive thinking?
Doron: Sure. You just need different yucky foods. I would start with insects. There is literature on that. And roundworms. Nematodes are very healthy. Grasshoppers add fiber because of exoskeletons. Also strong-tasting fish with polyunsaturated fats, or mono-saturated fats. Mackerel, for example. Kids don’t like mackerel. Or sardines or anchovies. And dirt!
Doron: Yes. I would recommend playground dirt. It’s very rich in earth minerals and beneficial microbes.
Me: Is a spoon really the right utensil? Wouldn’t you need something more versatile?
Me: You know, this may be going too far, but I once interviewed a Minnesota doctor named Johannes Aas. …
Doron: I know of him! Interesting name. Important work.
Me: Yes, he died not long ago, so this column is in some ways a tribute to him.
Doron: He performed fecal transplants to cure inflammatory bowel disease. Kids can be susceptible to that. Eating poop, basically, can cure it. You’d have to first screen it for HIV or hepatitis C.
Me: Wow! Okay, I’m going to rewrite the song. Hang on.
Me: Great green gobs of stuff that has no trace of guts / But smelly gunk from people’s butts / Screened for germs but full of worms / Sardine protein that can make you heave and hork / And me without a spork!
Email Gene Weingarten at [email protected]. Find chats and updates at washingtonpost.com/magazine.
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