Adder berries


When I was a boy I lived in the countryside, but I didn’t really know anything much about it. It had changed. We were surrounded by fields but we didn’t know what happened there. My friend Andrew lived the other end of a footpath past a field, Star’s Field, named after the horse I just about remember there, but one day Star went and shortly after that the field went as well. There’s a little row of shop for the estate there now. Adder berries grew at one end of the path. That’s what we called them. Everyone did. Adders do eat they, we were told. They’re poisonous.

“They’re poisonous’ was applied to everything that didn’t come from a shop. It wasn’t meant to be ironic, notwithstanding that a lot of the food in shops isn’t great for you at all. If you want to argue about that, have a look at the incidence of obesity and Type Two diabetes, two things that’ll mess you up big style if you overdo the Sunny Delight and instant meals.


“They’re poisonous” was applied to all mushrooms in every field as soon as older people who knew that all funghi are edible but some only once had the kind of jobs that meant they couldn’t be with children in the fields to tell them that St George’s mushrooms, the huge puffballs, should be cooked instead of kicked and that while just the look of the Avenging Angel will suck you in almost mesmerically, shining so pure and white it’s almost luminous, so will you be within a few days if you eat it.

It’s Good For You

So the thing is done. Whatever industrial chemical (farmed salmon has up to 27 of them) is in the food, not including our old friends aspartame or cancer-promoting saccharine (look it up if you don’t believe me, I’m tired of saying the same thing over and again), so long as it’s got a plastic wrap on it it’s Good For You. If it hasn’t it’s Bad. Just like adder berries. I’ve never eaten one. I’m not actually going to try. At least until I find out what they really are and what they do. Just the way no-one bothers to when they read the list of ingredients in processed foods. They’re fine, even when the makers put a label on them saying they’ll mess you up. Processed food is Cheap. Convenient. Hygienic. Good For You. And that’s official. Even when something is so toxic it’s banned until Donald Rumsfeld pulls some strings to get it made ok.

Bad is Good. Black is White. Knowns are Unknowns, or at least, Unmentionds.


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