Dick Teresi: About that nut ban; Let them eat truffles
Snack mix with chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and nuts. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead) Purchase photo reprints »
To the editor:
Amherst wants to turn its schools into a nut-free zone. Some critics oppose the plan, citing the nutritious qualities of peanut butter sandwiches that many second-class residents, those on a budget, insist on feeding their children.
These people must be reasoned with. Have they learned nothing from history? We need only to go back to the eighteenth century and Marie Antoinette, who, upon learning that the rabble were starving from lack of bread, said, “Let them eat cake.” Historians, of course, will point out that Marie, a sensitive and politically correct person, never said this. Her exact words: “Let them eat gluten-free cake.” But I digress.
Marie’s point was that there are always alternatives. Instead of peanut butter, I always whip up brie and fresh tuna (sushi grade) sandwiches, served on a croissant. Kids love them. Or try Belgian endive and truffles on a brioche. I know what critics will say: truffles can cost $1,200 a pound. One must be resourceful. Those on a budget can buy a truffle hog, and let it sniff out truffles for free. Granted, many landlords do not allow pets, and many public facilities ban animals. We need only for Town Meeting to pass a bylaw declaring truffle-sniffing pigs to be “service animals” to make our town truffle friendly. Many will say this is stupid, but then why do we have Town Meeting?
The alternative plan to segregate nut-eating and non-nut-eating students in the cafeteria is an outrage. Segregation in any form is anathema to Amherstians. Those of us who lived through the civil rights movement have not forgotten the sacrifices of Rosa Parks, the brave woman who, in 1955, sat in the no-nuts section on a Montgomery, Ala., bus. She was arrested when she refused to give up her seat to a man with a peanut allergy. She just sat there, eating a five-pound bag of cashews. Can we allow her historic protest to be in vain? Support town officials’ efforts to make Amherst schools free of nuts. Of course, this means eliminating the nuts who came up with this plan in the first place.