Lee Pitts: And the survey says…
September 5, 2012
Pundits and pontificators are making a big to-do over a couple surveys in the United Kingdom that revealed how stupid the British children are when it comes to the food they eat. In one survey of 16-23 year olds, one in ten thought that eggs come from wheat. In a survey of 1,000 6-8 year olds in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset (sounds like a law firm) fewer than one in four knew that hamburgers come from cattle. The little tykes said that cheese came from butterflies, bacon came from horses, eggs came from sheep and potato chips came from either rabbits, sheep or plastic. Which would explain the lack of taste and palatability in the last chips I ate.
American kids aren't nearly that stupid and I set out to prove it. For my survey I thought I'd ask questions of high school students, but then I realized I don't know any. In the local pizza parlor an opportunity presented itself when a peewee boys and girls soccer team invaded to celebrate a victory. The coach and I are friends and he said I could ask them some questions while they played video games and tore up the joint.
My hypothesis that American kids aren't nearly as stupid as the Brits was proven right off the bat when I asked, "How many stomachs does a cow have?"
"Four," replied a brainy and cherubic eight-year old. "That's why they're so fat."
I was hoping to hear an answer such as, "in the produce section of a grocery store" when I asked, "Where would I find bok choy, bamboo shoots and kim chee?"
"Chinatown," replied a future Rhodes scholar, giving a better answer than mine.
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Next I asked a little twerp, "What are the four food groups?"
To which he replied, "Breakfast, lunch, dinner and Starbucks."
Again, an answer much more relevant in today's society than the one I was after. Holding up a pizza I then asked, "What is an anchovy?"
"My dad says they are dead bugs, like a grasshopper only more salty."
"Why does an apple a day keep the Doctor away?"
"Because they cause gas," replied a cutey wearing the number 6 on her jersey.
Granted, a wrong answer but you must admit that number 6's answer may explain why doctors are so reluctant to make house calls these days.
Moving on… "Name one thing that does not grow on trees."
"My mother said that money does not grow on trees."
Again, wrong answer but so right. "Where do peanuts come from?"
"My Uncle can pull one out of his nose," said number 10. (Keep in mind, I never said our kids wouldn't benefit from a little time spent with Ag In The Classroom.)
I continued. "Do potatoes come from below or above the ground?"
"Silly, everyone knows potatoes come from Idaho," replied number 12.
When I asked "What part of the cow does hamburger come from?" their answers ranged from, "The hams," to "Their side." I then asked, "Which side?"
"The left side," said number 4, which, when you think about it, is half right.
"Why aren't any of you eating anything from the salad bar?" I questioned.
"Salad is for old people," a wise seven-year old replied. She looked at the soda I was drinking and lectured me, "And soda causes cancer and your brain to rot."
"Okay smarty, why does your mother feed you chicken soup when you get sick?"
"Because it's cheaper than going to Urgent Care or the Doctor's office."
Finally I told them why I was asking so many questions and explained about the dumb British kids across the pond in the United Kingdom. To see if American kids knew as much about history as they did about food I asked, "Why is the United Kingdom so important to us?"
"Because it's that place that Harry Potter made famous."
See, didn't I tell you they were smart?