My dad has a rant for everything. And often the rants are polished bits of comedy that are quite amusing. His latest has to do with the sentimental and self-righteous attitude about "free-range" farm products, especially chickens and eggs. My dad grew up on a farm, back when all animals were free-range. The chickens on his farm spent most of the day pecking at the manure pile, he says. Occasionally he'd go out and sprinkle some dried corn for them for variety. So much for the purity of free-range poultry, he sniffs.
Since my parents haven't got a lot of mobility these days, and they live in San Francisco and I live in New York, I order their groceries online at Safeway.com. For a mere $6.99—no tipping allowed!—Safeway handpicks frozen, canned, baked, bottled and fresh food according to the specifications on the list I submit and delivers it to my parents, often within 12 hours. It's a wonderful service from a company that's often reviled. But I digress. I wince sometimes when I check off the house brand (as my parents request) rather than an organic brand. But after hearing about the manure-eating organic chickens of yore, I think I'll feel a bit better.