In this session, a Senator from Indiana introduced the worst bill I have ever seen and the worst bill anyone can imagine.
A don’t say gay bill? Absolute abortion ban? Assault weapons ban? Changing the state name from Indiana to North Alabama because using “Indian” is not politically correct? Please, this is orders of magnitude more egregious.
I’m talking, of course, about Senate Bill 322 by Huntington Republican Andy Zay.
The bill would… oh, I’ll throw up even if I had the willpower to write it here… would call the breaded pork tenderloin Indiana’s official state sandwich.
You know how people always throw around, “So and so is trying to destroy America! We have to take back our country!” Well, that’s when that’s actually true for the first time ever. This is the moment when we must all stand up and stop the political elites from destroying everything we hold dear.
“Nick’s Kitchen in downtown Huntington is home to Hoosier’s first breaded pork tenderloin. Founded by Nick Freienstein, Nick’s Kitchen has been serving customers the famous breaded pork tenderloin since 1908,” Zay’s office wrote in a press release.
“Because breaded pork is home to Senate District 17, it was an obvious decision to pass legislation to make it the official state sandwich,” Zay said.
These are all culinary apocrypha.
Everyone knows that the true origin of pork tenderloin dates back to the Great Depression. A Hoosier farmer’s wife came home from the grocery store having just grabbed a few cuts of pork. But on the way inside, she accidentally dropped the flesh on the ground and a rogue tractor, which detached from the barn, rolled over it, smashing the flesh to about 18 nanometers thick.
She peeled the hair-thin meat off the floor and dusted it, explaining, “Well, I bet if I put eight pounds of breading on it and fry it, nobody’s going to notice the sand and grit and the general lack of flavor. Maybe if I put it on a regular sized bun with about two pickles on it, no one will notice how bad it is.
And so the greatest atrocity of food was created.
Hoosiers told their friends, who realized that when they walked over a piece of real meat and flattened it, the molecular bonds of the proteins and fats were stretched to their ultimate limit before breaking and a catastrophic one Fission that led to a nuclear explosion causing massive radiation floods, they too might trick their families into believing that they are indeed getting a good meal.
Over time, Indiana’s ancestral white Northern European ethnic population—accustomed to eating delicacies like pasta on top of mashed potatoes on rice between two pairs of breads, covered in a thin, bland white sauce—got so accustomed to consuming this monstrosity that it parted of their heritage and the nostalgic notion that it was “good”.
But they were all deceived.
Pork tenderloin is the sandwich of choice for people who grew up in areas where good food just doesn’t exist.
Since its inception, rural Indiana has never been introduced to things like garlic or spices. The mostly homogeneous ethnic background of the starch eaters grew up in a world lacking in real taste. They lived lives ignorant of food that tastes like something, food that activates and appeals to the tongue and elicits sensations of joy and pleasure.
I know this sounds controversial, but eating can be more than just consuming raw complex carbohydrates for later breakdown and conversion to energy.
But unfortunately, Hoosiers was simply indoctrinated that pork tenderloin is edible.
“You can’t possibly be a native Hoosier,” one person commented on Twitter at my initial warning of this coming atrocity.
Ah, but I am! Although my parents lived just across the border in Calumet City, Illinois, I was born at St. Margaret Mercy Hospital in Hammond, Indiana. After four years of growing up in Illinois, we moved to St. John and I’ve been here ever since.
But I grew up in The Region, in the shadow of Chicago, where I had access to good food.
First, I had the benefit of growing up in Poland, a culture that understands that you can be poor and peasant but still create food with taste. And Chicago and its ethnically diverse population of Poles, Italians, Jews, Greeks and more offered a wide world of tastes.
Why not have an Italian beef sandwich with spicy giardiniera instead? a flavorful gyros with onions, feta cheese and tzatziki sauce; or a Reuben stacked with meat, cheese, cabbage and smothered in Thousand Island or Russian dressing? Enjoy a Chicago-style hot dog pulled through the garden or a Maxwell Street Polish sausage with grilled onions and mustard.
I mean, it’s not even a specialty, but even the simplest American hamburger has substance, a canvas upon which the right choice of standard or unique toppings can create a meal worth savoring.
So why, why, why should everyone choose a wafer-thin breaded fillet? And putting that hubcap-sized disgrace on a regular burger bun is just a mockery of the diner, an insult to human decency.
I mean, if you want to eat breadcrumbs, save yourself the trouble and just drink a can of breadcrumbs, okay?
Do I disagree that the pork tenderloin is iconic Hoosier? No not at all.
But it’s just not a sandwich worth remembering. Not worth eating. Maybe if you’re literally on the brink of starvation, and even then consider grass or mud or boiled shoe leather.
We can and should ask for more, Hoosiers.