After they launched Sputnik pundits warned that the Soviet Union was going to eat our lunch. In 1957 my schoolmates' usual lunch was peanut butter and jelly on Wonderbread. By lunchtime, the Welch's grape jelly would have oozed through the porous Wonderbread and soon despoil their clothing. It was later revealed that Skippy Peanut Butter, was not made from peanuts but was a byproduct of the oil cracking process that caused extensive brain damage. This explains why many people of my generation exhibit such deranged behaviors as discussing wines in public, believing in supply-side economics and footing the bill for college tuition.
"Let the Russians eat our lunch," I said. "I would happily trade it for Borscht, Piroshky and Pelmeni."
In 1980s I was warned that the Japanese would eat our lunch, then typically a Big Mac and fries. "They are welcome to it," I advised. "Then they will suffer from obesity, high cholesterol, fatty accumulations in the liver, mood swings, depression, heart palpitations, sexual dysfunction and increased risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and a host of other afflictions associated with McDonald's food. The will not be able to fit three people into airplane row and will be mistaken for taxicabs when wearing yellow."
We will eat sushi and sashimi, rich in omega-3 fatty oils, thereby lowering our blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, reduce or risk of heart attacks and strokes and increase life expectancy to 95.
Now I hear the Chinese are going to eat our lunch.
"Be my guest," I proclaim. Let the Chinese all the vile tasting health foods forced on our lunch menus by the Anti-Oxidant Wing of the Food Gestapo such as:
• Gluten Free Spring Rolls: Seasonal soy chaff and congealed whey rolled in preserved lentil husks
• Salade Débile: A tempting mix of marsh algae, fermented soy pits, and dried ginkgo stems dressed with unpasteurized flax paste
• Up Chuk: Pureed tofu fiber topped with pan roasted kale seeds on a bed, whole grain chia leaves
They can have our lunch. I will take what they are serving for dim sum today: Steamed shumai pork dumplings, crispy fried shrimp and spareribs with hoisin sauce.
Or better, let the French eat our lunch and I'll have what that men in the beret is having.