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Postcard from the Past - High Fiber in Our Food

Written by Dick Perue

As the old saying goes, “The more things change, the more they stay the same,” or something close to that. Just gnaw on Phil Roberts’ column – “A Little Humor There” – in a May 1979 “Medicine Bow Post.” 

Excerpts follow:

A news item recently reported that the federal government has instructed the makers of a bread “high in fiber” to disclose the factor that it contains wood fibers. If the trend of making food from wood fibers continues, we may have some interesting dietary treats some day.

The following conversation between members of a family 25 years from now shows how popular “wood fiber foods” will have become.

“Dad, can’t we go down to McDonald’s lumberyard for supper tonight?” Junior asked. 

“Not tonight, son. Your Mom and I are planning to go to a Chinese bamboo place. You and your sister will have to stay home and finish off the leftovers from the cottonwood limb we had for lunch today.”

“But Dad. Sis won’t let me have any of the bark. She takes it all.”

“Well, you’re going to have to just get along. No more climbing the fence and chewing the bark off the apple tree.”

“Just as long as we don’t end up having to have plastic wood sandwiches,” Junior replied.

The father started toward the car but turned back. 

“Now Junior, there’s one thing you must stop doing at school. No more gnawing on your desk between meals. It ruins your appetite,” he said firmly.

“Okay Dad, but at least I’m not eating junk food like the other kids. Why, just today Miss Smith caught Freddie chewing on a Lincoln log.”

Just then the mother drove up in the family car and announced she was happy to be home from the grocery store. 

“The prices are terrible,” she moaned. “Would you believe three dollars a board foot for rough pine now?” 

“Terrible,” the father agreed.

“John, I have a headache after standing in the checkout line at the sawmill. Let’s just stay at home tonight and eat leftovers.”

She saw him frown. 

“Well, how about a cook out in the backyard?” she suggested.

“Well, okay, but let’s have something besides pine again. I want a more expensive cut this time.”

“Well, I have a few stakes here in the sack,” she said happily.

They set up the barbecue, and Junior and Sis helped set the table. 

“Junior, how many times have I told you?” Sis scolded, “The axe goes on the right, and the saw and chisel go on the left!”

By that time Dad had the freshly sawed redwood fairly sizzling on the fire. 

“These two-by-fours sure do cook well,” father said. “Those four-by-fours always seem to be a little too tough.”

Dad had cooked a couple of redwood stakes for he and Mom, but the kids had sawdust burgers on their
plates. 

“The wood is done,” Dad said as the family each took a seat on the stone picnic table.

Junior took the first big bite of his sawdust burger and made a face. “Ugh. I think there’s some hamburger in my sawdust,” he complained.

“Here – you can have some of my stake,” Mom said.

“Okay. Can I have just a sliver and go back to play?” he asked.