Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Little Red Hen and Monsanto

I feel obliged to note that this is a parody, and in no way reflects any actual experience with Monsanto. Just for the record, at this time (April 2, 1014  2014) Monsanto has not released any GMO wheat, although it is discussing the possibility of doing so in the next few years.

                                       Red hen, Anchorage, May 24, 2013. [Photo, TW Carns]

Once upon a time a Little Red Hen found some grains of wheat while she was scratching in the barn yard, and decided to make bread. She asked her friends the donkey, the pig and the dog, “Who would like to eat some delicious warm bread?” The donkey, the pig, and the dog all said, “Oh yeah! We’d love some warm delicious bread.”

The Little Red Hen said, “Who will help me grow this wheat to make the bread?” And the donkey, and the pig, and the dog all said, “We are soooo busy! Not us.” But the gentleman from Monsanto who had just spread the grains of wheat in front of the Little Red Hen said, “That just happens to be Round-up Ready (Trademarked) wheat that we’ve been wanting to test. Will you be so kind as to try it out for us?” So the Little Red Hen said “Sure, why not?”

                        Southwest Michigan winter wheat field, mid-April 2013 [Photo, M. Glueckert]

The Little Red Hen planted the Monsanto wheat in her carefully-tilled field and watched it sprout and grow bright and green Then came the day to pull the weeds that had grown equally bright and green in among the wheat stalks. The Little Red Hen said, “Who will help me weed the wheat?” The donkey, and the pig, and the dog all said, “That is not the sort of work we are cut out to do.” But the Monsanto gentleman said, “Spray a little Roundup (Trademarked) and the weeds will go away.” So the Little Red Hen bought some Round-up from Monsanto, sprayed her wheat, and the weeds shriveled away as advertised.

     Southwest Michigan wheat field, June 21, 2013 [Photo, M. Glueckert]

The grain waxed golden, and the Little Red Hen said, “Who will help me harvest this wheat?” The donkey, and the pig, and the dog all said, “That’s character-building work, and as you can see, we are already bursting with character. We do not need to help harvest.” The Monsanto gentleman said, “I can put you in touch with some harvesters,” and he did. They came, cut the wheat, and gave it to the Little Red Hen, who paid them well for their work. 

The Little Red Hen had to grind the wheat into flour, and she knew better than to ask the donkey, the pig, and the dog to help. So she took it to a mill where they removed the vitamin-rich bran and germ (which they sold to health food stores), and added in vitamins and minerals, as required by the FDA. They brought the fine white flour to the Little Red Hen in artisanal sacks, charging her a very reasonable amount extra for the nice packaging.

                                                             Flour sack image.

The Little Red Hen said, “It’s time to make this flour into bread. Who will help me?” The donkey, and the pig, and the dog all said, “We probably shouldn’t help because we might get it wrong.” The gentleman from Monsanto said, “We have friends who will make your flour into bread.” The Little Red Hen turned over all of her flour to the recommended bakers who put it into a monstrous large kneading machine with mono- and di-glycerides, sodium stearol lactylate, calcium sulfate (aka gypsum), and high fructose corn syrup (among other ingredients). They shaped it, and proofed it, and baked it before giving it to the Little Red Hen after she paid her baking fee.

                                              Bread, May 12, 2013. [Photo, TW Carns]

Along came the donkey, the pig, and the dog, and said, “Let us help you eat that bread. There’s way too much for you.” But the Monsanto gentleman came along and said, “No way. Little Red Hen invited me to dinner. She is going to cook bread pudding with mountain oysters, and we’re going to eat it all ourselves.” And they did.

                                         Savory bread pudding (minus the Rocky Mountain oysters).

                                      Red hen, Susanne and Thomas's, July 2011. [Photo, TW Carns]


  1. That bread picture is particularly enticing.

    1. I actually made that bread -- not a bit of monoglyceride in it. Thanks!

  2. Our hens are not nearly that industrious; they just like to eat the wheat although they would not turn down fresh bread. Moldy stale bread though gets the feather shake of disapproval.