Soup, milk, and hot sauce

Published 11:03 am Thursday, October 20, 2022

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The world is coming unglued – literally and figuratively.

Last Friday (Oct. 14), two young protestors each tossed a can of tomato soup at Vincent van Gogh’s painting “Sunflowers” at London’s National Gallery.

Fortunately, their aim wasn’t too sharp as the soup caused only minor damage to the frame. The painting itself is valued at $84 million.

Then, following their “soup entrée”, the duo apparently wanted to “stick” around for dessert by gluing themselves to a wall in the Gallery. However, authorities – after ungluing the two – arrested and charged them with criminal damage and aggravated trespass.

And what was the reason for the attack on an artistic masterpiece? Did their ancestors have some sort of disagreement with Mr. van Gogh? Do they hate sunflowers?

No and no.

Rather, the duo is a part of the Just Stop Oil campaign.

According to a story posted Oct. 14 by Reuters, the soup tossing protest is the latest by the group’s activists and comes after days in which they blocked roads around parliament and government departments until Britain halts all new oil and gas projects.

London police said that more than 100 people had been arrested after a weekend of protest-related activity by environmental groups.

I only have one question….how did the Stop the Oil activists arrive at the sites where the protests were conducted? If they walked the entire distance there from their homes or drove/rode in an electric vehicle, then they have an apparent zeal for their cause. However, if they arrived in a vehicle powered by fossil fuel, then they need to return to the drawing board and redefine their efforts.

And here’s another tidbit to chew on. Most of the money for the operations of the Stop the Oil group comes from the Climate Emergency Fund, based in Los Angeles, which, get this, began with a foundational grant of $500,000 from Getty Oil heiress Aileen Getty.

Also across the pond is another group taking part in “milk pours” as they call for a reduction on greenhouse gas emissions by eliminating meat and dairy products consumption.

As a way to bring attention to their cause, teenagers in the United Kingdom who are concerned about the environment are going into grocery stores, opening cartons of cow-produced milk, and pouring it out on the floor.

“”The dairy industry is incredibly environmentally destructive. The world’s top 5 meat and dairy corporations are now responsible for more GHG emissions than Exxon, Shell or BP,” said the organization Animal Rebellion in a tweet on Saturday.

According to study performed by the University of California – Davis, a single cow will belch about 220 pounds of methane each year. Methane from cattle is shorter lived than carbon dioxide but 28 times more potent in warming the atmosphere.

In 2020, the EPA estimated that 11 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States came from the agriculture sector, compared to 27 percent from transportation, 25 percent from energy, and 24 percent from industry.

The “milk pour” protest supports an effort to raise awareness to the transition to a plant based food system.

Environmentalists promote the use of dairy alternatives, such as almond, soy, coconut and oat milk.

My question is if a plant based food system is capable of replacing the traditional method, especially considering that prediction by the World Economic Forum that says by 2050 the global population will demand 70 percent more food than is consumed today?

That sort of follows the trend of eliminating the use of vehicle engines powered by fossil fuels. While the push towards electric vehicles is a noble cause, will there be enough batteries (at reasonable prices) and EV charging stations to satisfy the demand?

And, finally, I read a story last week on WRAL-TV 5’s website that sourced a USA Today article regarding a California man filing a lawsuit against the company that makes Texas Pete Hot Sauce.

If you are a true North Carolinian, then you are well aware that Texas Pete is a product of the T.W. Garner Food Company, which is based in Winston-Salem.

However, the California man believes he was misled. He alleges false advertising and mislabeling. In his lawsuit it states that “the “defendant’s (T.W. Garner) labeling and advertising campaign is overloaded with references to Texas” and states the “defendant uses ingredients that are not sourced from Texas to manufacture the products.”

It’s apparent that his “references to Texas” are the one on the bottle showing a character dressed in cowboy apparel, complete with a 10-gallon hat and lasso. There’s also a single white star on the label.

He said he wouldn’t have paid as much ($3) for the sauce had he known where it was made.

His lawsuit wants the company to pay for damages and to change its name and branding.

According to the T.W. Garner website, there’s no big secret how the sauce got its name. It says that Sam Garner and his three sons, Thad, Ralph and Harold, were trying to come up with a brand name for this spicy new sauce they had created. A marketing advisor suggested the name “Mexican Joe” to connote the piquant flavor reminiscent of the favorite foods of our neighbors to the south. “Nope!” said the patriarch of the Garner family. “It’s got to have an American name!” Sam suggested they move across the border to Texas, which also had a reputation for spicy cuisine. Then he glanced at son Harold, whose nickname was “Pete” and the Texas Pete cowboy was born.

And here’s another bit of Texas Pete trivia you may not know. At one time, years ago, a Bertie County farmer was under contract to grow the spicy red peppers used to make Texas Pete.

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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